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Each MMUF fellow is paired with a faculty mentor, with whom they are expected to meet on a regular basis. The mentor-fellow relationship is one of mutual respect and commitment. Students work with their mentors to develop their scholarly interests into research directions and design. Mentoring is a serious commitment of time and effort; and an integral aspect of the MMUF program.

Previous MMUF cohorts participate actively in the program as peer mentors.



The purpose of the mentoring program is to convey to students a genuine feeling of concern for their academic success. The program provides three key features:

  • An avenue by which the gap between students, faculty and staff is bridged
  • An opportunity to work with faculty and other role models
  • Individualised assistance with academic, social, cultural and personal concerns

This effort is designed to address some of the unique needs of students of colour enrolled at a predominantly white university.


To help students achieve academic excellence through their academic career.

Mentor Role and Responsibilities

The role of the Mentor is to act as a role model and encourage student academic success. Develop a creative, trusting relationship that will foster positive personal interaction.

As mentors, faculty members have the knowledge and responsibility to demystify the formal and informal aspects of earning a doctorate. Mentors also give fellows insight into the fulfilment and rewards of a career in scholarship and teaching. In the mentoring relationship, the sharing of personal experience and the transmission of knowledge intersect in a trusting learning environment that provides opportunities for both mentor and student to stretch beyond his or her boundaries.

Mentor responsibilities include:

  • Assisting students in identifying their academic and career goals
  • Assisting students in developing a plan of action
  • Encouraging students in developing a plan of action
  • Encouraging students to make use of campus resources
  • Serving as a source of encouragement, support and motivation
  • Assisting students in preparing a research proposal for the UNCF/Mellon Summer Institute
  • Meeting with student on regular basis as a way of 'keeping in touch'
  • Be accessible to student

Student Responsibilities

  • Actively participate in activities that will foster academic excellence
  • Follow the plan of action developed with the Mentor
  • Request a change in the current relationship is not working
  • Be prompt for scheduled appointments
  • Attend and participate in MMUF seminars and other related activities
  • Preparing a research proposal for the UNCF/Mellon Summer Institute

Your assumption of the role of Mellon Mentor is a clear indication of your commitment to the future of higher education.

Mentoring Guidebooks Available Online

The Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan has made available online two new publications: "How to Get the mentoring you Want: A Guide for Graduate Students at a Diverse University" and "How to Mentor Graduate Students: A Guide for Faculty at a Diverse University.' Both guidebooks are available at