Graduate Student Guidance for Accessing Advice and Mentorship

The Kroc School makes the provision of meaningful academic guidance, mentorship, and continuous support central to the graduate student experience. You are responsible for taking initiative and meeting with your advisors and mentors. You should hold yourself to a high professional standard and be aware of time constraints and other demands imposed on faculty, program staff, and mentors who are volunteering their time.


Faculty Advisors

At the start of your program you will be assigned a faculty advisor to guide you through the academic component of your graduate program (i.e., coursework, research, writing, internships, and the capstone). The role of your faculty advisor will share advice, experience, and expertise to help you through your studies. They will help you understand different program requirements and point out resources available to help you succeed. Faculty Advisors will help socialize you into your profession, clarifying and reinforcing—principally by example—what is expected of practitioners in the field you are studying. 

Faculty advisors will advise you on elective courses to further your particular academic and career goals. They will also refer you to university and Kroc School policies and practices regarding academic issues that may arise during your coursework. They cannot, however, change or influence grades or dynamics in courses beyond their own.

Course Instructor

Course instructors are responsible for guiding and supporting you from the beginning to the end of their course. They are in charge of evaluations and guiding you through the learning process. When appropriate, the course instructor can advise you on organizations and opportunities to explore in their field of expertise.

Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs

The Assistant Dean works with faculty and staff to ensure that students have a high-quality academic experience. The Assistant Dean will communicate program updates and changes, and address student concerns in accordance with Kroc School and university policy.  The Assistant Dean is available for you to meet with periodically starting at Orientation, followed by scheduled meetings or office hours during the course of your graduate studies.

Associate Director of Student Success and Career Development

The Associate Director of Student Success and Career Development is the initial point of contact for student needs. They serve, lead, and coordinate ongoing initiatives to support student success, and are responsible for developing mechanisms for assessing and improving the quality of the student experience. Their primary roles are career development, student services, and academic advising. To promote student success, they provide guidance in establishing links to Kroc School and University services, including Wellness, Writing Center, Diversity and Inclusion, Ministry, among others. They link students to the multiple support providers at the University as well as connect with others inside the Kroc School.

Mentors (Mentorship Program)

At the start of your program, you will be invited to join the Mentorship Program, a program designed to pair you with professionals who can support you in pursuing your career development goals. Should you participate in the Mentorship Program, the Associate Director of Student Success and Career Development, will assign a mentor to you in your first semester. Your mentor can assist you by discussing your goals and professional opportunities in the field. Mentors link you to contacts and opportunities and share advice and expertise.  Keep in mind that your mentor is not responsible for finding you jobs or internships. It is your responsibility to follow up on opportunities.

Kroc Institute Directors

The Directors of the Institute for Peace and Justice and the Spark @ USD are another important resources. Make appointments with them directly to learn more about their work.

Identifying Resources at USD

The Graduate Student Handbook provides information about offices on campus that can offer support and guidance on academic issues, student life, and health and well-being, among other services. Read the handbook carefully as it contains vital information on program requirements, Kroc and USD policies, and available support services. There are many resources on campus beyond the Kroc School—explore the university’s website, and be entrepreneurial. Be proactive and access support services early to make the most of your graduate student experience.