Mentoring Tips and Resources

Mentor Responsibilities

In mentoring you champion distinction.


  • Discuss project ideas.
  • Establish how you will work together. Decide mutually when and how often you will meet.
  • Decide mutually with your student on the project’s end goals and strategy for mentoring. Offer assistance with methodology and suggest appropriate resources.
  • If project includes human subject research, review IRB protocols with the student.
  • Check-in with your student on an ongoing basis, weekly or as needed. This helps with project and time management.
  • Provide timely, clear and comprehensive feedback to student’s questions or issues.
  • Challenge your student to extend his/her abilities and try new professional activities.

In mentoring an Engaged Learning Project, follow these guidelines.

At time of application

  • Review the use Engaged Learning Project Scoring Template.
  • Know the Engaged Learning Student Learning Outcomes.
  • Write a recommendation letter that describes your plan to work with the student.

During activity phase

  • See Ongoing

At time of presentation

  • Review your student’s oral presentation.
  • Attend the public venue.

Bringing the project to an end

  • Ensure that your student's final product (eg. research paper, final report or other creative work) follows SMU Digital Repository Guidelines for Publication.
  • Review, approve and sign off on your student’s final product.
  • If possible, attend the graduation event for Engaged Learning, typically held on the Friday before May graduation.
  • If appropriate, make an effort to help your student professionally, beyond the Engaged Learning project.

Tips for Students

Mentoring gives you a brain to pick, an ear for listening, and a push in the right direction. Keep a record of your mentoring sessions for the Office of Engaged Learning.

How to Begin

  • Focus your ideas. Develop a draft of your proposal and project goals.
  • Identify ways in which a mentor may help you.

How to Find a Mentor

  • Pitch your project ideas to faculty or staff who know you. Ask for recommendations.
  • Interview someone you know is an expert in the area of your project. If you feel a connection, invite them to be your mentor.
  • If necessary, ask the Office of Engaged Learning for direction.

How to Start Working with your Mentor

  • Discuss your project ideas. Be ready for suggestions and possibly new directions.
  • Establish how you will work together. Decide mutually when and how often you will meet.
  • Encourage your mentor to participate in Engaged Learning activities, events and workshops. Introduce him/her to the Engaged Learning staff.

How to Be a Great Mentee

  • Know and respect your mentor’s expertise. Listen carefully, heed your mentor’s advice.
  • Be prepared. Know what you would like to discuss when you meet.  Do NOT waste your mentor’s time.
  • Keep your mentor informed of:
    - your project's progress
    - your project's timeline 
    and related Engaged Learning events and workshops.