The Mentoring at Critical Transitions (MCT) Program was first offered at UC Davis by the Office of Graduate Studies during the 2010-2011 academic year thanks to a grant from the Council of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service. Faculty from the graduate programs in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry , Pharmacology and Toxicology , and Physics , as well as faculty from the CREATE IGERT program served as the first cohort of participants. MCT Seminars continue to be sponsored by Graduate Studies and are now open to all UC Davis faculty.
Why Graduate Student Mentorship Matters
The MCT Program highlights how achieving excellence in mentoring graduate students is an essential component of developing the next generation of scholars to the fullest extent possible. Research on issues of attrition, persistence and completion has demonstrated the importance of socialization, mentoring and inclusivity for the success of doctoral students in a climate where 10-year completion rates hover anywhere from 50-60% nationally and median time to degree since starting graduate school was 7.7 years (since starting graduate school) across all disciplines in 2009. Excellence in mentoring increases completion rates and decreases time-to-degree of graduate students, particularly doctoral students, which represents a success not only for individual graduate students, but also for their professors, graduate programs, and the institution in general.
Today’s graduate students must be expertly mentored to pursue a host of academic and professional opportunities through the process of socialization that includes opportunities to present at national conferences and symposia, to participate in regional meetings of professional associations, to publish and to teach. Faculty participating in MCT seminars learn valuable and timely information drawn from recent research on each of the three critical transitions—applicant to student, coursework to research, and research to professional career—as well as best practices in mentoring, both generally and with regard to specific disciplinary and demographic groups. The MCT Program recognizes and promotes the principle that to achieve quality, excellence, and diversity in our graduate student and faculty ranks, all members of the graduate community must actively participate in mentoring efforts with the level of competence required for the task.