Information for Potential Mentors

Mentoring DSP scholars is a rewarding experience, mutually beneficial for the scholar and the mentor. If you have never been a DSP mentor, and want to know more, check out the FAQ below.

If your question does not appear, please feel free to contact any of the DSP Team members.


Q: What kind of time commitment is required for DSP mentoring?

A: Totally up to you! Each mentor-scholar relationship is unique and discipline-specific, so the time commitment depends on the scope of the project. Many mentors find that scheduling regular (or semi-regular) meetings works best, but the choice is up to you and your scholar. All we ask is that you devote sufficient time to work closely with your scholar so that they receive the guidance and direction necessary to succeed.

Q: When does the clock “run out” on the scholar?  Is the program one year long?

A: There is no pre-determined deadline. The only “real” deadline is the scholar’s graduation date, so this should be kept in mind during project development. Scholars can (and often do!) continue to work with their mentors even after the DSP project is complete.

Q: Do scholars need to log hours, or agree to a particular time-commitment?

A: Again, totally up to you! We recommend that mentors and scholars establish project milestones and timelines early, and agree upon a work schedule (e.g., Will some work need to be completed on weekends or between semesters? How often will meetings occur?). The DSP Team will not impose any time requirements on mentors and scholars.

Q: How should I mentor my scholar? Should I treat them like a graduate student?

A: DSP scholars have a great deal of drive and potential, and they often possess many skills already. That said, it is important to keep in mind that they are not graduate students, so your expectations should be tailored accordingly. The ultimate goal is for mentors to encourage scholars’ growth, independence, responsibility, and professional development.

Q: What is an appropriate scope for my scholar’s project?

A: This is entirely up to you and the scholar. The project should be an original piece of scholarship that is not part of the scholar’s regular coursework, and one to which the scholar intellectually contributes (i.e., they should not be thought of as research assistants). Projects should be feasible within the scholar’s abilities and time constraints (e.g., graduation deadline, course or work schedules, prior training, familial obligations, etc.), but the scope is otherwise up to you.

Q: How much does the DSP leadership “keep tabs” on me?

A: Very little, unless you need us. The program is designed to encourage growth and collaboration between the scholar and mentor, and we will not micromanage that. We trust you to do what is best for your scholar and project.

Q: Do I need to keep track of my students’ benchmarks?

A: Yes and no. Scholars report on their benchmark progress via our website, and we recommend that mentors check in with their scholars about their progress at least once per semester. If you and your scholar need to modify the benchmarks, simply email us and let us know.