Tips from the pros
Who are faculty mentors?
Mentors are professors and research staff members in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship who can share their wealth of knowledge and tips for success in academic and professional environments.
Academic advisors in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship work with each student to pair them with a faculty mentor in their major or a related area. First-year students are asked to declare their Forest and Rangeland Stewardship major concentration soon after their first semester and will be given a mentor.
How can a faculty mentor help me?
The first meeting entails sharing information about your background, current academic progress, and goals for the future. Your mentor may have suggestions about key classes that will be excellent elective courses that go beyond the courses required for the major.
Your mentor may have ideas about research opportunities for undergraduates and/or information about which faculty labs have traditionally been good places for undergraduates to work. They are experts in their field, and will be able to guide you through preparing for a research career or graduate school.
After meeting with you several times to discuss your academic progress and personal goals, your mentor may know you well enough to write supporting letters when you are ready to apply for scholarships, admission to graduate or professional programs, and jobs.
How do I set up a meeting with my faculty mentor?
You must take the initiative to arrange the first and each subsequent meeting with your faculty mentor. Although faculty mentors are busy people, they are usually quite willing and able to arrange time for a meeting if you provide a reasonable selection of possible times for an appointment. Scheduling the first meeting is probably the most challenging step in the whole process, but once you meet in person you’ll be glad that you took the first step.
Tips for setting up your first meeting
- Start with an e-mail message to your faculty mentor. Provide one or two sentences about yourself, a brief statement of educational and professional goals, and an announcement that you’ll contact them again in two or three days.
- Follow-up in a couple of days. Focus on arranging a specific time to meet.
- Be sure to show up on time for your meeting, usually arrangements are made to meet at your faculty mentor’s office (verify location ahead of time).
How to prepare for meetings with your faculty advisor
Once the first meeting is scheduled you’re well on your way! Before the first visit, you may find it helpful to check out the faculty mentor’s interests on the departmental web page since this may provide a foundation for your initial conversation. However, you can expect that most of the visit will focus on your academic progress, and how current plans are being crafted to lead to a set of long-term goals. If you don’t have specific goals, just make a list of your general areas of interest and/or topics that you might like to explore.
What opportunities are there to interact with my faculty mentor?
NR 193 Seminar
A faculty mingling session is held during freshman and transfer class sessions at the beginning of each semester.
One on One
Get in touch with your advisor to touch base as needed.
Speed chat with faculty members. Take a few minutes to talk to several professors and find your match.
Faculty members can set a time and date when students can meet him/her in a small group setting.
Get to know your faculty mentors outside the classroom. Food will usually be involved.