Page 82 - Faculty Handbook2

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Helping Students Balance Stress
82
(8) Providing ongoing encouragement and support
Most students experience bouts of insecurity and anxiety at
some time. It is important to help them recognize that this is
normal. Since you most likely experienced similar low points
in graduate school yourself and clearly made it through
successfully, you can provide ongoing encouragement.
Faculty can instill confidence by telling students when they
are doing a good job and helping them build the knowledge
and skills they need to do their work well.
Encourage your students to follow their interests and
support them through the fleshing-out of incipient ideas that
may or may not end up at the center of future research
projects. Students should have the freedom to choose their
research interests and receive the support they need
regardless of how those interests relate to those of their
mentors.
(9) Being responsive to the needs of a diverse student body
Retention of minority students—those who belong to a
group that experiences prejudice, stigma or discrimination—
presents the greatest challenge to increasing overall
graduate student retention rates, because these students are
the least likely to complete their graduate degrees. Graduate
school is difficult for all students, but it is often more so for
students who face obstacles that arise due to differences in
race, sexual orientation, gender, disability, age and socio-
economic background. The following suggestions can make
you more aware and sensitive to this issue: