We encourage you to create mentor agreements, or contracts, in partnership with your mentees as you supervise their growth and development.
What is a Mentor Agreement?
Mentor agreements outline goals, expectations, accountability and other aspects of collaborative work and are ideally drafted in partnership with students near the beginning of major projects. Given the open-ended nature of academic work, these agreements can be considered "living documents" that can be modified as conditions and goals change.
Project goals and anticipated outcomes
Timeline of activities and meetings
Student's learning and professional development goals
Training requirements and plans
Communication preferences and contact information
Expectations and cultural norms
Compliance procedures and ethics
Plans for dissemination (conferences, publications, etc.)
Mary Beth Rich and Robert D. Brown describe a “curvilinear relationship between Autonomy and perceived readiness to be a mentee” (297) in their study of student perceptions about their mentoring needs, noting greater need at the earliest and latest periods of development. Considering this developmental arc and the implications for your experiences working with students, you can plan for periods of growing independence followed by an increasing need for mentorship as projects conclude and students make plans for graduation.
“As students become more independent of others, they may rebel for a time and perceive no need for support. When the students become more fully autonomous, however, and perhaps become involved more deeply in identity formation, they may search for mentors as role models and once again have an interest in the mentoring relationship.” Citation Rice, M. B., & Brown, R. D. (1990). Developmental factors associated with self-perceptions of mentoring competence and mentoring needs. Journal of College Student Development, 31(4), 293–299.