Four women collaborating at a table 

PhD Pathway is a mentoring program that matches undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds with faculty, professional staff, community professionals, and distinguished alumni associated with Ball State University.

Through a matching process and relationships established through this program, students will have a heightened awareness for the opportunities that lie beyond the first degree and support for the process of pursuing higher academic goals and resources. The ultimate goal of the program is to encourage students to pursue doctoral studies outside of Ball State University to potentially and ultimately return to work and teach as a faculty member.

By meeting with a mentor on a consistent basis, interacting with other protégés and participating in a set of University-sponsored events, the mentoring program will help protégés gain knowledge and establish networks beyond the scope of Ball State University in order to build crucial relationships for establishing a successful career.

Program Structure

The following are the basic components of the program’s structure.

Formal Mentoring Gatherings

In order to facilitate scheduled and structured mentoring interactions between protégés and their mentoring partners, formal mentoring gatherings occurring at least once each month will aid in consistency across mentoring groups.

Formal mentoring gatherings will include social and group dynamic activities as well as facilitated discussions related to students’ academic, professional, and social development.

In addition to the scheduled gatherings coordinated by the program, unstructured mentoring meetings will provide more informal interactions between protégés and mentors.

Mentoring partners and protégés will collaboratively decide on the frequency and medium for communicating beyond the minimum requirement for informal mentoring interactions. This communication can come in the form of email correspondence, phone calls, informal meetings over lunch, or other non-academic activities. These decisions will be documented in the mentorship agreement signed by both parties at the beginning of the program.

Weekly communication between protégés and mentoring partners is strongly encouraged.

A large number of offices at the University offer training sessions and workshops related to students’ academic and professional development. Protégés will participate in some of these events as part of the structure of the program.

While protégés will not be required to attend all events offered by the University, at the start of the semester they commit to attending at least three events after learning about the various options.

To maintain and evaluate the mentoring program, scheduled events including an initial welcome reception, faculty experiences panel, and end-of-the-year reception event will occur to facilitate regular communication among the larger cohort of protégés and mentoring partners.

Matching Process

The referral, application and mentor/protégé matching process is a vital part of the PhD pathway program.

The following describes the components of this process.

There are multiple ways in which a student may be referred to the program.

Students are eligible so long as they meet the criteria based on their status as enrolled in the college, grade point average, classification as belonging to an underrepresented ethnic or racial minority population, and admission exam scores (i.e. ACT, SAT, GRE).

Referrals may come from:

  • faculty
  • program coordinators
  • themselves

After referrals, students and mentors complete an application and answer questions about their:

  • mentor/protégé preferences
  • academic and professional interests
  • demographic information

Though demographic and preference information is collected, protégés and mentoring partners are not guaranteed a match based on preferences due to number of individuals represented in the program.

Based on the feedback from students’ applications and information based on faculty’s interest in participating as a mentor (e.g., student preference), mentors and protégés are matched in pairs.

Some mentoring partners may have multiple protégés.

After mentors and protégés are matched, both parties receive a notification of their match via email. They will also receive an invitation to the program’s Welcome Reception, where the two will officially meet (if they have not already met).

Mentoring partners are encouraged to contact their protégé prior to the reception.

After protégés and their mentoring partners are matched and both have agreed to participate in the program, both parties will complete an online pre-program assessment.

Apply to the Program

Student Protégés

Complete the online application.

Apply Now

Download and complete the Faculty Mentor Application Form.

Download Application (PDF)

To submit the application, either:

Office of Inclusive Excellence
AT 101
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306