Philiminality Oxford, the Oxford Philosophy Faculty Women’s Student Representative (Lara Scheibli), and People for Womxn in Philosophy (PWIP) have teamed up to coordinate a mentoring scheme that connects:
[OPTION 1] undergraduate students in philosophy and related disciplines (as mentees) with graduate philosophy students (as mentors);
[OPTION 2] MSt/BPhil/MPhil students (as mentees) with DPhil students (as mentors).
This is an informal, non-faculty-affiliated scheme intended to provide graduate students with an additional source of information to draw on as they navigate the world of philosophy, and apply to further graduate study.
To ensure that the scheme is able to deliver enough mentors, we strongly encourage Master’s students signing up as mentees (as part of option 2) to sign up as mentors (as part of option 1) as well.
Mentors commit to meeting with mentees at least once per term. We hope to be able to organize an in-person social in the second half of Michaelmas term.
We are running this scheme as one way to promote equal access to the kind of information shared through informal networks that can be extremely valuable when trying to advance in academia.
The scheme is open to all students at the University of Oxford working in philosophy and related disciplines.
Please keep in mind that as this scheme is organized by Philiminality and PWIP, any information you receive is not officially endorsed by the philosophy faculty; the faculty bears no responsibility for any aspect of the scheme.
If you have any questions or concerns, you are welcome to get in touch with the Graduate Women’s Rep, Lara Scheibli (email@example.com), Philiminality Oxford (firstname.lastname@example.org) or PWIP (PWIPS in Oxford).
For the Mentor
Thank you for agreeing to participate in the Philiminality/PWIP mentoring scheme! By serving as an informal source of advice and information, you can help make the philosophy world less opaque to Master’s students. In signing up to participate, you are committing to meeting your mentee at least once per term in a way that is in line with Covid regulations. You are welcome to arrange meetings beyond once per term with your mentee, and to offer advice via email if your schedule permits, but that’s up to you. There is no requirement or expectation that you meet more frequently than once per term.
You can be most helpful to your mentee by sharing your perspective and experience as someone who is one step further along in the philosophy pipeline. Be sure to remind your mentee that what you have to say is one data point among many rather than an authoritative answer, and feel free to direct them to further resources whenever you think you’re not the right person to answer a question. If welfare concerns arise in the course of a meeting, please do not try to deal with the situation yourself, and instead direct the student to the university counselling service and/or the welfare team at their college.
We are asking mentees to take the lead in reaching out to set up meetings, but please do reach out to your mentee if you haven’t heard from them within a fortnight of receiving word from us.
For the Mentee
We’re glad that you have decided to sign up for the mentoring scheme! Philiminality/PWIP will assign you a mentor on the basis of your topic interests. You will meet with your mentor at least once per term. This is an opportunity for you to hear about an older student’s experiences and ask questions about doing philosophy and applying for graduate programmes.
Please take the lead in contacting your mentor and setting up your termly meetings. You can get in touch with them as soon as you receive an email from us; they will have been informed of the match and will be expecting to hear from you. If you don’t hear back from your mentor within a couple of days, feel free to send them another message. It’s almost certainly the case that your mentor saw your email, meant to respond, and then forgot. They’ll be glad you followed up.
As mentioned above, this is an informal scheme rather than a faculty-organized and endorsed system, and it is not a replacement for your advising relationship with your supervisors. We recommend that you think of this arrangement as providing you with a slightly more organized version of, say, asking a random student for advice. Take everything with a grain of salt.