Carnegie Mellon University

Guide for the Mentee

Successful mentees manage their relationships with their mentors and are proactive about both the relationship and their career. Here are some things to think about as you work with your mentor(s):

  • Be proactive. Make the first appointment to talk about your career. Have a game plan for your conversations with your mentor.
  • Agree on the parameters of the relationship: what kinds of topics do you want to talk about? How often will you meet? What would you like the mentor to do? What does your mentor expect you to do? What are the specific developmental goals for which guidance is sought? These expectations can be renegotiated but must be established early.
  • Make a plan with your mentor. Start by clearly articulating your career needs and goals, ask your mentor for feedback on a timeline for achieving your goals.
  • Set an agenda for meetings with the mentor. The agenda can take into account changes in your career plan as well as any immediate concerns you may have regarding your career at CMU. Use initiative and follow through in both setting and completing agreed-upon goals.
  • Agree on deliverables and provide adequate time for review by mentors and respect the time constraints of mentors.
  • Develop listening skills and a willingness to work outside of your “comfort zones,” across boundaries of gender/race/ethnicity/sexual orientation/culture/religion.
  • Foster an ability to solicit and consider thoughtful feedback, both positive and negative.
  • Make an active commitment to developing scholarly independence.
  • Respect the personal boundaries of your mentor.
  • No single person can have all the answers. Choose senior faculty, both on and off campus as mentors.
  • Develop a peer network, both on campus and nationally. You will find that you are not alone and can get good advice and information from those who are in the same situation.
  • Make the most of development opportunities at CMU, such as faculty development seminars offered by the Vice Provost for Faculty, and teaching seminars offered by the Eberly Center.

Adapted from:

  • Cornell University, Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, Mentoring
  • Columbia University, “Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Mentoring”