The idea to document The Graduate Mentoring Center (The GMC) was born the same year as The GMC: 2014. As a Black woman creative and scholar, I am aware of the necessity to document everything to archive institutional histories and to offer models of what is possible for the very populations we teach and serve, even if years later they – populations and models – change. And, they will, should. However, in 2014 The GMC had no programs, mentors, or mentees; we did not yet know what we might become. We were still an idea, with only a new director.
This guidebook documents what we at The GMC learned and co-created between August 2014 and June 2021. We were an experiment: could we create, implement, and sustain a new approach to mentoring, one guided by contemplative practices? Would faculty and graduate students be open to an emergent, generative process that invited them to develop a relationship based on graduate student needs, faculty desires to address those needs, and current social justice issues in a way that allowed them both to develop profound trust and transformative practices with each other? Would they be interested in developing their internal and personal selves at the same time that they developed the external and professional? Would they be able to see how the two were connected, intersected, interdependent on each other, without fearing the repercussions?
As much as this guidebook is an archive, it is a contemplation on what is possible when one is open to and interested in creating a different model. I am sharing it in this open format so that everyone can access it.
Take what you need.
Leave what you don’t.
Share what works.
Envision what is missing.
Co-create what you need to serve graduate students in the best ways possible that they may do the work needed in the world in which they will live.
Maria Hamilton Abegunde, Ph.D.
For the past three years, I was privileged to work with underrepresented minority graduate students at The Graduate Mentoring Center (The GMC) at Indiana University. The center was founded through the Indiana University president’s diversity initiatives to support graduate students’ success during their graduate school journey. The GMC created a community of scholars through mentoring programs, workshops, writing groups, and informal gatherings.
Graduate student life is hard. Good mentoring in graduate school is crucial for students’ well-being, mental health, and academic success. Good mentoring can also save lives. The GMC served as a refuge for students that needed a safe place to talk, gather, and breathe.
The book provides guidelines for all university stakeholders, including underrepresented minority graduate students and faculty mentors, on how to get and give mentoring that supports students’ success in graduate school. The authors have chosen to publish this book in an Open Educational Resource (OER) format through Pressbooks because of its flexibility and public access. We expect this book to be a living document with opportunities to expand and develop contemplative mentoring over time.
Jennifer Jihae Park, Ph.D.