UCSF Mentorship Climate Survey Report

About the survey: In the spring of 2017, the Associated Students of the Graduate Division (ASGD) at UCSF in collaboration with Graduate Division staff developed and administered a survey to gather data about UCSF graduate students' perspectives about their mentors. The text below is excerpted from the introduction to the survey report, released by the ASGD in April 2018.

View a pdf of the survey report in its entirety or an infographic summary, also created by the ASGD. If you would like to request the survey results in another form, please contact the ASGD or the Graduate Division.


Background

The Associated Students of the Graduate Division (ASGD) in collaboration with Graduate Division staff developed and administered a survey to gather data about graduate students’ perspectives about their mentors, who we defined in the survey as whomever students consider their primary thesis/dissertation advisor, often referred to as their Principal Investigator (PI).

As part of an ongoing effort to understand and address issues with mentorship, the purpose of the survey was to collect information about the mentorship experience of UCSF graduate students and identify target areas for improvement.

The survey questions were developed during Spring 2017 and the survey was distributed on April 6, 2017 via email listerv to the entire UCSF graduate student body. The survey was closed and responses extracted from Qualtrics on May 2, 2017.

In 2014 at UC Berkeley, the Graduate Assembly issued the Graduate Student Happiness and Well-being Report based on findings from a survey administered to a random sample of graduate students in Spring 2014. They found that having an advisor who is a good mentor was a predictor for students’ life satisfaction.

On April 6, 2017, a forum called Perspective Matters was organized by the UCSF Multicultural Resource Center, S4D, WILS, LGBTQ Student Association, SACNAS, and ASGD. The event gave a venue for students, faculty, and the wider UCSF community to discuss a number of challenging issues: managing family and career, navigating mentor-mentee relationships, balancing your personal and professional self, coping with government policies, or dealing with implicit bias. A common theme that emerged across all discussions was that good mentorship plays a crucial role in addressing nearly all these issues.

Improving mentorship for science graduate students is a priority at universities across the globe. In October 2017, Nature released results from a survey of science graduate students showing that at least one third of students feel that their mentorship around career development and training is poor.

Survey Questions

Questions collected information on the following:

  • Demographics (year in program, age, race/ethnicity, gender, etc)
  • Career path of interest (academia, non-academia, or either)
  • Financial security
  • Mentorship
  • Use of Individual Development Plans (IDP)
  • Choosing and switching labs
  • Having thoughts about leaving graduate school

View the ASGD's survey report in its entirety. If you would like to request the survey results in another form, please contact the ASGD or the Graduate Division.