Inclusive mentoring strategies

Mentoring is important to the success of all students. However, students with marginalized identities, particularly students of color and first-generation students, more frequently experience advisors and faculty members encouraging them to leave certain STEMM disciplines in addition to facing other barriers in academia. This makes inclusive mentoring that provides encouragement and support to these students even more important to their success and wellbeing. Below are recommendations, strategies, and resources for inclusive mentorship.

Setting expectations

At the start of the mentorship arrangement, the mentor and student should discuss expectations and support needed by the student. What does each person need and what are each person’s expectations? Mentorship needs can include skill building, networking, and/or psychosocial/emotional support. Have an honest conversation around what the student needs and what the mentor can offer.


The mentor and student should talk about how they’ll talk about things. How will feedback be shared (both ways)? How will the mentor encourage and share constructive critique and feedback with the student? Both mentor and student should discuss respect and boundaries. What does respect look like for each person, and what boundaries need to be in place to have a healthy mentoring relationship?

Support and resources

The mentor should identify a support network/resources on hand both to support them as mentors and to supplement the mentor’s support, guidance, and availability for the student.


To allow for clarity, consider documenting the plans and arrangements discussed above. Consider creating a contract or charter for both the mentor and student to sign.

Check in

Plans can change. And because they do, plan check-ins to see how the mentorship is working for both the mentor and student, including revisiting expectations and needs.