Advising and Mentoring Program

We have embarked in an effort to improve our mentoring support that are conducive to a great relationship between you and your mentors to guarantee fruitful and enriching interactions. As part of these efforts, we have been working on a series of documents that could serve as resource guides for you and our faculty. Please see the guides related to mentoring conflicts below:

CEE Graduate Student Mentorship and Managing Conflict 

What is this Guide? 

  • Brief  document  describing  potential  suggestions  and  resources  to  mitigate  conflicts  and/or  address conflicts when they arise. This is a recent effort to provide a set of additional resources to assist graduate students and faculty, as part of a mentoring pilot program.
    **There are already a number of mentoring resources available and we have tried to facilitate them in this  document. 


  • General Mentoring Resources  
  • Graduate Studies offers a range of Mentor Resources, tools, professional development, and support that is helpful for both Graduate Students and Faculty.  We highly recommend you review and use the resources complied by Graduate Studies.  

    UC Davis Graduate Council Mentoring Guidelines
    Graduate Studies Mentor Resources
    Graduate Studies Mentee Resources
  • Potential Conflicts 
  • Conflict with mentors can happen at any time during your academic career. The aim of this resource guide (and future website) is to help our students understand the people they can talk to and resources they can use when conflict arises.  Below, we outline a typical progression of elevating the conflict management to various levels. However, please note that the student has the right to decide who they feel comfortable talking to, and may choose to escalate their concerns with the department and other campus resources  at their discretion.   
    Confidentiality: Please also note there are some offices on campus that are confidential, and other offices/people who are mandated to report certain issues, including but not limited to: child and elder abuse, certain crimes on and around campus, sexual harassment and sexual violence, and threats to self and others.  If you have any questions about which resources are confidential, please see the list below and feel free to ask the Graduate Program Coordinator for clarification.
  • Why do conflicts happen?
  • Be Proactive and remember that every Mentor/Mentee relationship can be very different. Many conflicts stem from miscommunication.  We encourage students and faculty to start their  mentorship  relationship  with  an  intentional  conversation  about  communication  style,  preferences, and expectations.  There can be a number of factors that could generate a misalignment between preferences and  expectations.  Examples  include,  but  are  not  limited  to:  publication  authorship,  work  location, project deadlines, reporting and manuscript writing assignments, project roles and assignments,  funded  research  and  dissertation  work,  field  work  and  travel,  time  off,  meeting  schedules,  lab/group dynamics, and others. 
    Check out the Graduate Studies Mentee Resources for tools on how to set expectations for your  mentor/mentee relationship.  
  • What to do when conflicts start?
  • Address the issue early.  Misunderstandings or misalignment of expectations can be minor at first,  and grow into larger issues if left unaddressed.  If you feel comfortable, we highly encourage open  and honest dialogue between the mentee and the mentor. Seek resources to help you have a direct and non‐defensive conversation with your mentor.  There  are people on campus who can help you with problem solving, practice having hard conversations,  think about how to move forward, help you find additional resources, and guide you in how to  take formal actions if needed. Please see below for a list of people and resources in the department and campus wide who can  help you.  The Grad Studies Mentee Resources page also has some helpful online tools if you want  to start processing this yourself prior to talking to others.  
  • Finding additional support, and escalating the issue:
  • Depending  on  individual  concerns  and  comfort  level,  students  may  want  to  seek  additional  support  from  the department, or other campuses offices and resources.  Please see  the list of  department and campus resources below. We  encourage  students  to  utilize  the  people  in  the  Civil  and  Environmental  Engineering  department as their first step in finding support. Your first point of contact in the department may  depend on what relationships you have already established, and your level of trust and comfort  with  those individuals. That  said,  there are amazing  resources on  campus, and you  can  utilize  those at any time. Remember  that different people will give different advice based on their own background and  experiences. You may want to seek advice from more than one person or campus resource before taking action. 
  •  Confronting the issue:
  • With  the  support  of your  newly  discovered  support  network,  consider  the  outcomes  that you  hope to see, and start formulating a plan on how to make that happen. Think about practicing the conversation first, and know that individuals have different styles of  communications, and different points of view of the same situation.  Try to stay open to hearing  the other side(s) of the story.  
  • Seeking resolution:
  • Depending on the conflict, there could be several outcomes.  We have had many students find a  resolution and go on to have a successful and rewarding relationship with their mentor after a conflict.  We  have  also  had  students  find  a  new  major  advisor  in  our  department.  These  are  probably the most common outcomes for our students when we see major conflict arise. We also have graduate students who have decided to graduate with a different degree objective  than  originally  intended  and/or  transfer  from  UC  Davis  to  another  institution.  While  these  outcomes  are  quite  rare,  please  know  that  the  CEE  department  is  interested  in  helping  you  succeed, and supporting whatever decision is right for you. Follow up with your support network and various campus resources as necessary. 

People and Resources to help you through Mentor/Mentee Conflict


Mentor Conflict Protocol Assessment

The Mentor Conflict Protocol Assessment provides some ideas on how to avoid or address conflicts, and the existing resources (e.g., information, offices, and individuals) available to you.

Please look at Mentor Conflict Protocol Assessment above and fill out the survey below. We want to know what you think about this effort, and please provide your comments and suggestions.

The goal of the assessment is to determine whether this resource is a positive and impactful resource. We are interested in specific comments and feedback to consider for future resources. Please complete the assessment here.