Graduate School

Creative Inquiry, Graduate School partner to pilot new mentor training program


Creative Inquiry (CI), Clemson’s undergraduate research and experiential learning program, has benefitted thousands of undergraduate students over the years. But the program also gives graduate students valuable experience as research mentors. This year, CI is partnering with the Graduate School to help graduate students level up their mentoring through the Mentoring Up program. 

Mentoring Up is part of the Graduate School’s new Graduate Center for Transformational Mentorship. The program is designed specifically for research mentorship and includes training modules on topics such as assessing expectations, maintaining effective communication, fostering professional development, promoting independence and research self-efficacy, and fostering mental health and well-being. After going through the modules, participants then implement what they have learned and write a reflection on their experience.

The program provides training in how to be a mentor as well as how to be mentored by others. The training is based on the work of the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research, which is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The CI mentors engaged in active conversations, problem-solving and reflection about their experience mentoring CI students and their experience with their mentors,” said Marieke Van Puymbroeck, associate dean of professional development, health and well-being for the Graduate School. “It is our hope that students who take these trainings will impact the whole ecosystem at Clemson and that they will carry these skills into the next stages of their lives so that people they work with in the future will also benefit from these trainings.”

Marketa Haughey, a doctoral student in bioengineering, has been mentoring with CI for three years and is participating in Mentoring Up. She currently works with a CI team looking at how human factor engineering can be incorporated into the design of medical devices.

“This experience has allowed me to reflect on my mentoring and learn how I can improve it. I found it very beneficial to discuss and learn from other graduate student mentors, as I could identify with the benefits as well as challenges experienced while mentoring undergraduate students and balancing their own graduate student responsibilities,” she said. “I learned new strategies on how to improve communication with mentees, better prepare them for their future careers and become more effective mentor, all skills which I can also incorporate into teaching.”

Mentoring Up is now open to all graduate students. Students can register to participate on the Grad 360° website.

About Creative Inquiry + Undergraduate Research
Creative Inquiry + Undergraduate Research
 combines experiential learning, multi-disciplinary interactions and team-based research. Since it began in 2005, more than 62,000 students from every major have participated in Creative Inquiry projects.

Today, approximately 2,500 students participate in Creative Inquiry each semester, exploring a wide range of topics. Projects typically last for multiple semesters, allowing students and faculty to dive deeper as they tackle tough questions and search for solutions to life’s challenges.

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