Navigating Your Mentoring Relationships

 March 16, 2015


Here at The Graduate School, mentoring has been a hot topic of conversation, in part because of the recent announcement of the 2015 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring and the upcoming launch of Duke’s own web resource on mentoring. In many different respects, The Graduate School remains committed to cultivating a culture of successful mentoring. After all, students with strong mentoring relationships have been proven to be more productive, more involved, and simply more satisfied with their graduate school experience.

Developing solid and fruitful mentoring relationships can be a challenge, especially given the power dynamics that are inherently part of graduate school. To help students navigate such issues, Dr. Samantha Sutton will lead a workshop this Wednesday titled “How to Hold a Renovation Conversation.” At this two-hour event, students will learn a set of tangible tools for developing and maintaining positive relationships with their mentors. This workshop will help students gracefully resolve potentially uncomfortable issues and build strong partnerships with their mentors and colleagues. (You can register here.)

Bin Yin, a current graduate student in Psychology and Neuroscience, recently attended a version of this workshop with Dr. Sutton. "After introducing the basics and tools for a difficult conversation,” Bin told us, “Samantha used two vivid role-play examples to engage learners into different perspectives of mentor and mentees. Through these examples, participants learn to have difficult conversation by finding common ground in ways that benefit both sides, enhancing efficiency and productivity."

Dr. Jana Schaich Borg, a postdoctoral associate at Duke University Medical Center, experienced Dr. Sutton’s work first hand and had this to say: “Samantha's unique experience, expertise, and passion have led her to develop powerful action-oriented strategies for the challenges found in academia. She teaches you not only the analytical and emotional tools to identify the great things you want to do with your life, but also the tactical tools to achieve them!”

The event takes place on Wednesday, March 18, in Perkins 217 at 11:00 AM. Lunch will be provided for this limited-enrollment workshop and attendees can earn 2 hours of RCR credit for their participation. Please click here for more information.


Darren Mueller, Ph.D.

Darren received his PhD in musicology from Duke University in 2015. He is currently visiting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he teaches music history.