Research suggests that peer-mentoring where other, typically more senior, students provide professional, academic, and personal support and resources to graduate students can have significant positive impacts. Authors argue that these interactions provide increased motivation, academic and professional knowledge, and emotional well-being among mentees. They also produce a number of positive externalities student mentors, including confidence in knowledge and mentoring abilities, as well as personal gratification. As a final benefit, researchers suggest that peer mentoring can improve programs by taking some of the burden of mentorship off of individual faculty and directors of graduate studies. The studies available on this page provide a sample of the scholarly work suggesting these and other positive outcomes of peer mentoring for graduate students.
The benefits of peer mentorship undoubtedly accrue through informal interactions between mentors and mentees. However, we know that not all students are equally likely to seek out advice from more senior colleagues or equally able to form and maintain relationships with them and, thus, benefits are likely to be variable and inconsistent in programs that rely exclusively on informal arrangements. Moreover, students who miss out on those benefits may be the ones who need them most to succeed.
For these reasons, the IUB Graduate Mentoring Center advocates the establishment of formal Peer Mentoring programs in Departments and Schools where such programs are feasible. We are happy to discuss examples of different types of programs in place around the University and the country with anyone who is interested including Directors of Graduate Studies, individual faculty members, or representatives of graduate student organizations. We are also happy to come to your Department or School to provide a short seminar on potential ways to build a peer mentoring program and culture. Please contact Sean Nicholson-Crotty at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.