Professor Harding's Top 10 Mentoring Tips

September 15, 2008

After nearly two decades at OSU, Anna Harding has served as major professor for 45 graduate students in public health. On top of that, she has been minor professor, Graduate Council representative and/or committee member for more than 130 others in various departments. "Every student for whom she has served as the major adviser has completed his or her program of study," notes Marie Harvey, chair of the Department of Public Health.

As Harding sums it up: "I never let my students quit."

What does it take to shepherd students through one of the toughest challenges they'll ever face? Here's Harding's top-10 list:

  1. Spend time getting to know the students and their goals
  2. Be flexible and empathetic about their personal lives
  3. Identify their strengths and help them build on those
  4. Acknowledge their weaknesses and help them overcome those
  5. Create a manageable research process by taking a step-by-step approach
  6. Set high standards so students are proud of their work
  7. Nurture their curiosity, creativity and confidence
  8. Celebrate achievements along the way
  9. Help them develop a network of contacts in the professional field
  10. Maintain an open-door policy for easy student access