Faculty Mentoring

The saddest hours at BYU


Did you know that the saddest hours at BYU are those faculty office hours to which nobody comes? Every professor on campus sets aside a few hours each week, opening their doors to meet with students on any concern or topic. Too often, in fact most of the time, our extra office chair remains empty and we spend those hours alone. Which makes us sad.

Arguably, faculty office hours are the most valuable, underutilized resource on campus. In a recent survey of successful graduates, winners of the prestigious Mitchell scholarship were asked what most contributed to their success as undergraduates. Their options included some of the following: coursework, travel abroad, internships, relationships with classmates, involvement in campus groups, independent reading, and etc. Most of the students placed relationships with faculty members, which was also a choice, at or near the top in every case. Those students who invested in personal and professional relationships with faculty, especially those who became involved in research and other faculty projects, felt they gained the most in personal growth, professional capacity, and the ongoing benefits of being associated with smart and well-connected faculty.

In history, we have a strong commitment to our students. Our faculty mentoring program is your entrée into a long-term relationship with our faculty, and can supplement other relationships you make with other history faculty over the course of your studies here. Please take advantage of all we and the department have to offer, and your mentor can be the best resource to make you aware of all your opportunities.


Do you know who your faculty mentor is?


Every history student (majors in history, history/social science teaching, and family history), has an assigned faculty mentor. The year you declare history as your major, you will receive an email notifying you of your faculty mentor. If you are already a major, you will receive an email reminding you of who your faculty mentor is. If you do not know who your faculty mentor is, please contact Shawn Miller shawn_miller@buu.edu, the faculty mentor supervisor, or the department receptionist, to find out.

We worry that too many of our students are passing through the major without the benefit of faculty advice and counsel. We hope over the course of your time in the history department that you make a number of meaningful and productive relationships with some of our 42 history faculty. Your mentor is a good place to start and can serve as a guide and resource as you progress through the major, make choices about classes, consider internships and mentored research, and can even be helpful after your graduate.


Questions frequently asked of faculty mentors


What can my mentor do for me? Consider your assigned faculty mentor as your resource regarding a variety of questions and concerns you may have about the major, your coursework, or your educational and career goals.

--Based on my personal and historical interests, what courses should I be taking? What classes does the history department offer, how often, and who are the faculty in the department who have expertise that might interest me?

--What internships does the history department offer? Are they paid or volunteer? Do they offer credit, and does it count toward the major? What internships might best prepare me for my chosen career or show me some career possibilities? Which ones would best prepare me for graduate school? Can I create my own internship, either local or international?

--How do I get published? How do I submit a paper I have written for a class to be considered for publication in the Thetean, the history department's student historical journal? What other outlets are there for students to publish or showcase their historical research and writing?

--What kinds of research projects are history faculty currently involved in, what mentoring opportunities are there, and how might I participate in current historical research?

--How do I apply to work as a teaching assistant in the history department? What qualifications should l acquire?

--What are the benefits of taking Directed Readings or Directed Research courses? What do these courses entail, and what role can I have in shaping what I read and research?

--What career possibilities are there for history majors? How do I best plan my coursework to prepare myself for particular careers? Or, how do I leverage the skills the major offers to make myself marketable in any number of fields, be they education, government, business, non-government organizations, or etc.

--What should I be paying attention to if I plan to go to graduate school? What courses should I be taking, and what majors or minors might complement a history major seeking to go to graduate school in history, law, medicine, business, public administration, or other fields.

--As someone who is considering graduate school in history, based on my research interests, where should I apply, and who should I consider working with as my graduate advisor? What are the elements of a strong application?

--Why am I am I struggling in Professor So and So's course, and what strategies might I use to improve my prospects of succeeding in her or his class?

--To improve my writing, what resources are there in the department, college, and university?

--What is Phi Alpha Theta and what are the benefits of joining and participating in it? How do I go about getting the work I've done in a history class published in the Thetean, the history department's student historical journal?

--What funds are available in the department or the college for internships, mentored research, conference travel, research in local and distant archives, or etc?