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UC Davis Department of Philosophy

Graduate Student Mentoring

Philosophy Department

1240 Social Sciences and Humanities
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Phone: (530) 752-0607

Fax: (530) 752-8964

Picture of Plato and Aristotle

Plato mentoring Aristotle

Recent News

The Graduate Program in Philosophy has adopted new mentoring guidelines, listed here.

One of the central goals of the Philosophy Graduate Program is to help our graduate students to succeed by working closely with them and providing advice and assistance. We aim, first, to help our students understand the requirements for the degree, second, to provide guidance and advice to our students at each stage of the program, including while they are writing the dissertation, and third, to assist their professional development. With these goals in mind, the Program has articulated the following policy on mentoring. This policy supplements the Graduate Studies policy. (PDF version here.)

  1. The Graduate Adviser (GA) assigns a faculty mentor to incoming students early in the fall quarter of their first year in the program. Unless the student asks the GA to assign someone else, this initial mentor will remain as the student’s mentor until the student chooses a tentative dissertation supervisor and officially informs the GA of this choice. This should happen at the latest at the end of the fall quarter of the student’s third year in the program. The tentative dissertation supervisor will remain as the student’s mentor until replaced by the student’s dissertation supervisor after the student’s qualifying examination. The Graduate Adviser oversees and advises mentors.
  2. Mentors should meet at least twice each quarter with each student they are responsible for in order to discuss the student’s progress. Mentors are responsible for arranging these meetings and should prepare for them by familiarizing him/herself with the student’s progress. One topic for discussion should be the student’s plans for the upcoming quarter and what the student needs to do in order to make normal progress.
  3. Each quarter, before a student registers for courses, the GA must review the list of courses the student intends to take and sign-off on the list. It is the student’s responsibility to present this list to the GA. If a student does not do so, the GA should bring this to the Mentor’s attention as something to discuss with the student.
  4. Mentors are responsible for giving pragmatic advice to their students about the preparation of the Second Year Paper, especially about the choice of paper topic and about the Program’s expectations for the paper.
  5. At the annual spring meeting in which the Program discusses students’ progress, a student’s mentor is responsible for providing the Program with a detailed account of the student’s progress. The mentor’s report should take into account the relevant documentation that is on file or available in the department including the student’s transcript, reports on the student’s seminar performance, reports on the student’s teaching, and the student’s announced goals.
  6. Promptly after the annual spring meeting, the Graduate Adviser writes a detailed report about the student’s progress. This report is sent to the student. Soon after this, and at the beginning of the fall quarter at the latest, mentors should meet with their students to discuss and review the GA’s annual report of their progress.