The Political Science Department places a high value on mentorship and advising, which occurs in multiple forms:
From the time the student enters the program until they declare an advisor and committee, the graduate student will also be assigned a faculty member as a substantive advisor with substantive expertise in the student’s major field of interest. These “substantive” faculty advisor assignments will be rotated each semester. The substantive advisor accomplishes several things. First, it facilitates students and faculty getting to know each other. Second, it compensates for any shortcoming in substantive expertise of the DGS. Third, the semester limit provides assurances that students get advice from at least three different faculty members before the student must select an advisor.
Teaching is an integral part of the graduate student experience. The department prides itself on providing excellent undergraduate instruction, and Teaching Assistants (TAs) are frequently some of the best teachers in the college. TAs in the Political Science department have three main sources to improve their teaching skills. First, each TA is assigned a faculty mentor at or near the beginning of each term. The faculty mentor’s role is to ensure that undergraduate instruction is the highest quality possible. Second, the Center for Learning and Teaching (CELT) offers a plethora of resources for instructors. These include consultations with individual instructors, workshops and lunch discussions on a variety of teaching and learning topics, and mid-semester course feedback. Third, the university provides two more formal programs to support graduate students in developing their teaching skills and teaching portfolios.The first is the Preparing Future Faculty program, which is meant to provide professional development guidance to graduate students who wish to become professors one day. This program is geared towards research, teaching and service. A related program focuses more specifically on teaching: The Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning.
Peer Advisor Committee
Advising for first year students also has a peer component. Graduate students may serve on the peer advisor committee that will serve as advisors to incoming first year students.