Faculty Mentors


In the frame of the Whiting School of Engineering’s Cue2 Launch plan, the School of Engineering has decoupled mentoring and advising for undergraduate education. This new model replaces the previous model of faculty advisors and academic advisors. Instead, each WSE undergraduate is assigned a professional academic advisor or academic advising success coach, a life-design educator, and a faculty mentor (you!).

Detailed information about the research, planning, and milestones of this initiative are on the WSE Mentoring Initiative site.


Transitioning Existing Students

As we transition to the new paradigm, faculty advisors will become faculty major mentors for any students who matriculated prior to Fall 2024. Their advisees will become their mentees and they will work with them until they graduate.

Incoming Students for Fall 2024

Students matriculating in Fall 2024 or later are assigned a startup mentor in their first year to get started in the WSE mentorship program. Students will then collaborate with a primary major mentor in their second year after they have declared their major.

Expectations and Responsibilities

Attend events and workshops

Faculty mentors are required to attend the “Meet the Flock” event in the third week of August (Orientation Week). This is where they will meet their first-year mentee cohort.

Mentors are also expected to attend at least one “mentoring undergraduates” workshop, which will be offered throughout the year. Our Undergraduate Advising Office is scheduling these with all faculty members. Newly hired academics should attend the program as part of their orientation to WSE.

As a faculty mentor you may also participate in upcoming communities of practice around mentoring. These are voluntary and will be communicated by email.

Meet regularly with your mentee

After the initial meeting at “Meet the Flock,” faculty mentors are expected to meet with their mentee regularly throughout the semester. Meetings should happen in person. However, unlike the previous faculty advisor model, faculty mentors are not required to meet with their mentee prior to registration. As a result, meetings with mentees can be scheduled throughout the semester when it is most convenient for both mentors and mentees. Primary major advisors have 14 mentees, so potentially, they could meet one student per week in a 14-week semester.

Faculty play a vital role in developing domain identity and facilitating undergraduate socialization. Mentors should talk with student mentees about their courses, the content behind them, and other critical aspects of their engineering education. Faculty are subject matter experts in their fields, and are thus the best suited to talk about course content and course sequence to better serve the formation into the discipline. We suggest that the startup mentor faculty is clear with their mentees about the importance of these academic conversations with a faculty, overall in majors that are very constrained in the course sequence.

Mentors should provide feedback, encouragement, and constructive critique. Share your personal perspective when appropriate, and express empathy.

Encourage diversity in mentorship

One of the objectives of our system is that the designated faculty mentor assists their assigned undergraduate student in their path to “learn” how to become a good mentee (etiquette, relationship building, sponsorship, etc.). As seen in our “mentoring undergraduates” workshop, we challenge the idea of “one super mentor.” As faculty, we need to encourage mentees to look for other (diverse) mentors along their journey.

Use ePortfolios

WSE undergraduate students matriculating in Fall 2023 or later are required to create an ePortfolio. ePortfolios allow students to capture their experiences and work on their life projects. ePortfolios can be shared both internally to portray their experiences to advisors and faculty mentors, as well as externally to partners and potential employers. Students are given access to the platform Digication to create their ePortfolios.

Faculty are encouraged to visit their mentee’s ePortfolio to learn more about them, as this can serve as a “living window” into their learning world and beyond.

Faculty are also encouraged to have a website or ePortfolio where they share their mentoring, research, and teaching philosophies.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the new mentoring system starting?

Decoupling mentoring and advising will start fully for the academic year of 2024-2025. This will mean that the faculty will transition towards a mentoring role, and the professional academic advisors will be transitioning to advise students on more administrative tasks like degree completion requirements, credit requirements, etc.

What happens for today's faculty advisors and older students for 2024-2025?

As we transition to the new paradigm, faculty advisors will become faculty major mentors. Their advisees will become their mentees and they will work with them until they graduate. Depending on the faculty caseloads, the department should assign new mentees for the upcoming cohort.

Do faculty mentors have to meet their mentees during advising week (before registration)?

No! The good thing about the decoupling advising and mentoring is that the new mentoring process is agnostic to the timeline for course registration. Primary major advisors have 14 mentees, so potentially, they could meet 1 student per week in the semester, considering the semester is 14 weeks long.

If I had a good connection with a student mentee, can I continue being their mentor after the first year?

If you have a good connection with your startup mentee and they request to keep you as a mentor going forward, you can do this with a few considerations:

  • their declared primary major must be in your department
  • department staff must approve it based on overall faculty load considerations

If you are unable to serve as the student’s official mentor based on these requirements, you can still be an unofficial mentor. There is no such thing as one “super mentor” and we encourage our students to cultivate a constellation of mentorship relationships.

What if a student has two majors?

If a student has two majors, the mentor should be coming from the primary major department. There is no problem (we encourage the students to find more mentors along the way!) in having more than one mentor. However, the official mentor should come from the primary major department.

If there is a mismatch of personalities, can we switch mentees or mentors?

Mentorship is a human-driven process, and both students and faculty can and should use the space and time to learn from each other. If you feel that there is a personality mismatch you are encouraged to explore this with your mentee to see where there is room for growth.

If you have major concerns (e.g. abuse of power, personal safety, etc.) reach out to the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Mentoring.

Can we have something like a "hold" to ensure the student's accountability?

We are exploring holds on grade visibility at the end of the term (as with course evaluations) or the ability to add/drop in the following term if students do not meet with mentors. We plan to establish a dashboard for faculty and students.

I've developed a good relationship with a student in my research lab. Can they switch to have me as their official mentor?

If you have developed a good connection with a student, you can serve as an unofficial mentor throughout their academic career. There is no such thing as one “super mentor,” and students are encouraged to find value in cultivating a constellation of mentorship relationships.

Unless there is a major concern, assigned mentors will not be switched.

How can I know who the professional academic advisor or SCAA is for an undergraduate student I am mentoring?

In the new system, there will be a lead academic advisor per department. This collaborator should work closely with the DUS to a) be up to date with any curricular changes or requirements; and b) to orchestrate the relationship between other professional academic advisors and the department they are serving. In the future, we expect to have a platform (either the incoming Stellic or another) indicating who is working with the student.

What about mentoring master's students?

This mentoring program only relates to undergraduate students. Each department should see how they work with their master’s program (who are usually here for one year).

Does KSAS use the same mentoring model?

The Whiting School of Engineering is currently the only one using the mentoring system in this manner.


Landry, A., & Lewiss, R. E. (2020). What Efficient Mentorship Looks Like. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/08/what-efficient-mentorship-looks-like.

Landry, A., & Lewiss, R. E. (2021). What a Compassionate Email Culture Looks Like. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2021/03/what-a-compassionate-email-culture-looks-like.

Baker, V. L., & Griffin, K. A. (2010). Beyond Mentoring and Advising: Toward Understanding the Role of Faculty “Developers” in Student Success. About Campus: Enriching the Student Learning Experience, 14(6), 2–8. https://doi.org/10.1002/abc.20002.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and M. (2019). The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM. The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25568.