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About the Graduate Student Peer Mentor Awards:
The Graduate Student Peer Mentor Awards recognize graduate students who exhibit stellar mentorship qualities. These graduate students are selected based on their ability to mentor undergraduate and/or graduate students, on or off campus.
This year, the Graduate Student Peer Mentor Awards honored five mentors during the Bucky’s Awards Ceremony held Sunday, April 9th in Varsity Hall of the Union South.
Qualities of a Good Mentor:
A good mentor is willing to teach what he/she knows and accept the mentee where they currently are in their professional development. Good mentors can remember what it was like just starting out in the field. The mentor does not take the mentoring relationship lightly and understands that good mentoring requires time and commitment and is willing to continually share information and their ongoing support with the mentee.
One of the key responsibilities of a good mentor is to provide guidance and constructive feedback to their mentee. This is where the mentee will most likely grow the most by identifying their current strengths and weaknesses and learning how to use these to make them successful in the field. A good mentor possesses excellent communication skills and is able to adjust their communication to the personality style of the mentee. A good mentor will also provide the mentee with challenges that will foster professional development and a feeling of accomplishment in learning the field.
Good mentors do not take their responsibility as a mentor lightly. They feel invested in the success of the mentee. Usually this requires someone who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and possesses the attributes of a good teacher or trainer. Excellent communication skills are also required. A good mentor is committed to helping their mentees find success and gratification in their chosen profession. Overall good mentoring requires empowering the mentee to develop his/her own strengths, beliefs, and personal attributes.
A mentor who values others is also someone who works well in a team environment and is willing to share his/her success. A good mentor appreciates the ongoing effort of the mentee and empowers him/her through positive feedback and reinforcement.
A mentor is usually highly motivated, dedicated, and has a strong work ethic themselves and by exhibiting these qualities, sets a good example for mentees.
A mentor strives to improve her or his skills by keeping up with best practices. Fortunately, at UW–Madison there are a number of resources that can help with this. For instance, the Wisconsin Center for Education Research provides an online mentor training tool. Additionally, programs like Delta offer mentor training opportunities. Finally, faculty such as Prof. Angela Byars-Winston research quality mentoring habits and want to help more people take up these habits. These and many other efforts have led UW–Madison to be a leader of the National Research Mentoring Network.