Skip to main content

The Mentoring Project FAQs

Below are some some frequently asked questions about The Mentoring Project. More will be added as the initiative launches and you are welcome to send suggestions to

What is the project purpose and objectives?

The purpose of the project is to facilitate the collaborative design of intradepartmental standards for mentoring ecosystems rooted in equity and culturally relevant frameworks, resulting in the co-creation of Mentorship Compacts.

The project, managed by the Division of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA), aims to empower participating departments/programs to alter their mentoring ecosystems in new equity-minded ways by (1) discussing mentorship first within and then across constituent groups, (2) co-creating and sharing mentoring standards, and (3) committing to enacting and revising these standards regularly, so that all students and postdoctoral scholars receive equitable mentorship grounded in culturally relevant practice.

What are the project goals?

The short-term goal is to carry out this pilot and achieve the objectives described above for the subset of departments/programs. The medium-term goal is to study this process, learn how these conversations unfold, and use that information to develop even better ways of facilitating such work at scale. The long-term goal is for every department/program at UC San Diego to have these conversations, with the goal of publicly committing to mentoring norms. Ideally, departments/programs would repeat these conversations every few years as a way of revisiting their norms. Finally, the longest-term goal, after scaling up to reach every department/program at UC San Diego, is to disseminate our work in ways that inspire the rest of the UC System and beyond to do the same thing.

What is the project progression?

The steps of the project are to:

  1. Identify a subset of five pilot departments, then assemble a diverse project team within each area consisting of faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students committed to critically examining their mentoring ecosystem.
  2. Work with the faculty to have robust conversations about their mentoring norms and expectations of mentees. 
  3. Simultaneously work with graduate students (and postdocs where applicable) in those same departments to have conversations about what it means to be a mentee as well as their expectations of mentors in ways that center the assets students and postdoctoral scholars bring to their departments.
  4. And then facilitate a coming together of the two groups to converse and discuss their ideas in ways that help each group refine their own thinking. 
  5. Ultimately, we want departments to leverage these cross-conversations in ways lead to the co-creation and enactment of agreed upon approaches, standards, and norms for mentors and mentees as codified by publicly shared equity-minded and culturally aware Mentorship Compacts.

What are the project activities?

We will identify five change-ready graduate departments at UC San Diego that then will enlist a diverse group of up to five individuals to form a project team. These project teams will meet quarterly with GEPA and then return to their respective departments for meetings to review project goals and work plans, leading to the development of department-specific Mentorship Compacts by the end of year one. In year two, each will host activities to promote adoption of the Mentorship Compact and GEPA will also host a public engagement activity to celebrate accomplishments and elevate equity-minded mentoring practices across campus. Additionally, GEPA will conduct a program evaluation and survey individual constituent group participants on the mentorship climate. Finally, GEPA will encourage a reflective exercise so each participating department can revisit and revise their Mentorship Compacts together. A diverse advisory board will be formed to provide guidance to GEPA project leaders and project teams throughout.

What are the project deliverables?

Project deliverables include:

  • Department project goals and work plans
  • Department-specific co-created Mentorship Compact
  • Department innovation activities to adopt the Mentorship Compact and showcase equity-minded and culturally relevant mentoring practices  
  • Program evaluation

What are the expected outcomes of the project?

Adoption of publicly shared equity-minded and culturally relevant Mentorship Compacts that will (1) describe the department’s/program’s unique discipline-specific mentoring ecosystem, (2) articulate agreed upon approaches, standards, and norms for mentors and mentees, and (3) outline the plan for ongoing examination and adjustments.

Who will be involved in the project?

Five departments have been chosen for the pilot. Each partner department will enlist individuals to serve on a project team, which should be diverse and when possible include people who historically have been excluded from education and/or those from minoritized communities. Each departmental project team will be composed of five people, consisting of:

  • Department Chair
  • One additional faculty member
  • One staff member (such as the graduate coordinator)
  • One graduate student
  • One postdoctoral scholar (as applicable)

This project roles document provides more information.

Why was my department selected to be part of this project?

Your department was specifically selected for this project because we identified some change ready indicators, such as:

  • Active participation in EGE (Equity in Graduate Education) work and the University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM)
  • Committed to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion activities on-campus in general (those who attend diversity recruitment events with OAR^2, use holistic rubrics for admissions, no longer require GRE scores for admissions, etc.).  
  • Academic leadership at the school and department/program levels has expressed support for the project and will help identify change champions in their respective areas.

Is there a financial incentive to participate in the project?

Yes, Pproject Team Members will each receive $1,000/year to engage in the project. 

Additional funds will be provided to support departmental project events, such as monthly meetings, quarterly check-ins, and innovation/celebration activities.

Who are the pilot project departments?

We have identified five change-ready departments to engage in this project. These departments are: Bioengineering, Economics, History, Physics, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. If you are interested in being involved, please email

What is the timeline of the project?

Phase 1 - Development

  • Winter 2024 - Collect feedback from constituent groups. 
  • Spring 2024 - Create drafts and share them at our May meeting for feedback.
Phase 2 - Enactment 
  • Fall 2024 - Finalize mentoring compacts. Create plans for adoption.
  • Winter 2025 - Engaging new students and other departments in conversations about the project.
  • Spring 2025 - Adopt the mentoring compacts in your department. Incorporate it into the appropriate structures and policies.

What will be expected of me as a project team member?

The expectation is that you will be an engaged project team member who helps co-create your department’s Mentorship Compact. Additionally, you will be asked to attend project events and meetings that will be pertinent to the success of The Mentoring Project. This project roles document provides more information.

What meetings will I need to attend as part of the project?

We will bring all project team members together for a launch event in the first year. There will be an additional intradepartmental cross-group meeting. During year two, each department will also be asked to host an innovation activity that encourages the adoption of the Mentorship Compact and showcases mentorship that is rooted in equity and culturally relevant frameworks.

How can my department get involved?

Our project is piloting until Spring 2025 but we would love future involvement. Please contact us if you would like to get involved!

What other mentoring initiatives are happening at UCSD?

We have a number of exciting mentoring initiatives on campus. 


Who should I contact if I have questions about the project?

Questions can be directed to