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Mentors As Supporters

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Alan Kendrick, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Development.

Providing emotional and moral support to graduate students in addition to supporting their intellectual and professional development is one of the hallmarks of outstanding mentors. Attending to the various learning and leadership styles represented by our diverse student body, Duke faculty mentors demonstrate their willingness to nurture graduate students in creative and remarkable ways.


Student Perspectives

“She tailors her mentoring to each of her students in an effort to nurture and guide their unique abilities. She recognizes that the ideal, most productive and most fruitful relationship between an adviser and advisee varies widely from one student to another.”

“His door is always open and he doesn’t require appointments in order for students to speak with him. ... His belief in open lines of communication is so strong that he once encouraged me to call him at home any time I wanted to discuss the progress of my research project.” 

“One of his strengths is his ability to engage in non-judgmental monitoring and knowing when to offer constructive feedback. In seven years, I was never nagged and I never felt a need to hide when I felt like I had not been as productive as he or I might have hoped. Instead, he was the person I could go to no matter how few tangible results I had that month or how little time I had spent on a joint project.”   

“He is also well aware that each student needs to be mentored in a unique manner and is willing to adapt his teaching style accordingly. This type of personalized mentorship is rare, and I am sure that it will prove invaluable to my scientific career.”

“Comfortable personal relationships are the cornerstone of his effective mentoring, since students are encouraged to bring their problems to him, but are also encouraged to gain the ability of solving problems on their own.”

“She has an extraordinary ability to alter her mentorship over time, tracking the needs of her students. At every stage in my professional development, she has understood the level of involvement, interest, and guidance that I needed to make it to the next step."

"He never criticizes or puts down others for a flawed scientific approach, oversight of a critical issue, or any other mistakes. Rather, he amicably guides others via suggestion, and addresses apparent flaws by asking questions, which teaches his mentees to think critically about their research approaches."

— Compiled from nomination letters for winners of the Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring