Advising and Mentoring

What happens during advising? Why is it important? What does my advisor do for me? What is a mentor? Is this different than an advisor? These questions may be running through your head as you read this. Or maybe you’re just hear to learn more about my advising style (remember, no two advisors are the same). The information below is meant to help you think about how to get the most out of our advising and/or mentoring relationship.

On Advising

Depending on your question or need, first try steps one and two. If you know what you need, jump to step three (but Steps 1 and 2 may contain information re: necessary forms and dates).

First, have you visited the GVSU Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Office of Integrative Learning & Advising? Check out their website as it may have some of the answers to your initial questions.

They also have a document explaining the role of their office and faculty re: advising.

Looking for forms for first-time and returning students? Here you go! 

Second, have you checked out the Department of Liberal Studies Student Resources page? Or the information regarding what is needed to complete the Intercultural Training Certificate?

Third, schedule an appointment with me if your questions are unanswered based on completing steps one and two. When you email me (mckeeki@gvsu.edu), make sure you do the following:

  1. Provide multiple dates/times so we can find a time that is agreeable to both of our schedules.
  2. Tell me what you have questions about. Scheduling? Internships? Studying abroad? Graduate school? Graduation? Job hunting?

Fourth, come to the appointment prepared to take notes and ask questions.

Remember, I’m here to help you succeed during your time at GVSU. My role is to guide you through your educational journey.

On Mentoring

You may be asking, what does she mean by mentoring?

At the base level, mentors are individuals that you can turn to for advice and constructive feedback  about a variety of different topics depending on your needs. Perhaps they’re research mentors because you’re interested in their field of study. In other words, if you’re interested in adoption or Asian American Studies, let me know. Schedule a meeting with me and let me know your interests. We could discuss about completing a Student Summers Scholars (S3) project, applying to the Ronald E. McNair program, or how you can become an undergraduate research assistant.

The GVSU Office of Undergraduate Research notes:

Undergraduate research and scholarship is a unique opportunity for students to work with faculty on their scholarship and produce an original output that contributes to the knowledge or activity of a particular academic discipline.

Some students will work on part of a faculty member’s current research project. Other students may develop an independent project of their own that is guided by a faculty member. Either way, students have opportunities in a variety of disciplines from art history to zoology to engage in original hands-on research and scholarship.

At the same time, you may want to strengthen your understanding/knowledge on a topic before we launch into a research project. Schedule a meeting with me and we could discuss the possibility of completing an independent study focusing on relevant readings and media. Or we could examine what type of research schedule would allow you to complete a literature review and your project.

Yet, your needs may not only be related to research. Mentors may also provide the support and the feedback on internships, graduate school, and in your professional life.

The Council of Undergraduate Research’s CUR Quarterly from Spring 2013 provides a great overview for the many ways faculty can be successful mentors to undergraduate students.

How I Integrate Mentors in my Life

“A truly great mentor is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget.” – Anonymous[1]

Mentoring is an important part of life regardless of your profession or age. To better understand how I integrate a network of mentors, check out two of my blog posts below:

While aimed at legal associates, I found this great piece of advice from Keith Lee’s post, “Associate’s Mind Primer For Young Professionals Seeking Mentors.” An excerpt from his post is below:

You need to find mentors who will challenge you. Point out your flaws. Tell you the “hard truths” other won’t. That’s what makes a mentor valuable. Mentors have the ability to see into you and know what is needed to push you towards growth. They are there to help sharpen you, not praise you until you shine.

That’s also not to say that you should tolerate mentors whose criticism veers towards abuse. If someone who is hypothetically mentoring you only offers scorn and belittlement, that person isn’t a mentor, they’re likely just a jerk. True mentors will encourage growth in their proteges through a number of different avenues.


[1] I have been unable to find the author of this quote. If you know who I should attribute the quote to please email me (mckeeki@gvsu.edu).

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