Pitt | Swanson Engineering
BioE UG Guidebook - Undergraduate Mentoring and Advising

Advising/Mentoring Rationale
The purpose of undergraduate advising is to help each student achieve his/her post-graduate goals, which is very individualistic and requires serious reflection on the part of the student about why he/she is in the Bioengineering program and how Bioengineering will help the student realize post-graduate goals. Reflection on post-graduate goals is an ongoing process. Goals may change as a result of new course that illuminates an area of bioengineering that the student finds interesting or as a result of a research experience in a previously unexplored area or as a result of an extracurricular experience, e.g., COOPERATIVE EDUCATION, or interactions with professors and other students that provide new avenues to explore.
      Advising IS NOT about putting together a minimal set of courses that will meet the Bioengineering Program requirements. Rather, advising is an ongoing mentoring process that provides a focal point for the student to discuss evolving career aspirations with a knowledgeable faculty member who acts as a mentor to the student. Mentors are a resource who know a lot about: the University; how the university works; options available to you; and, how you can accomplish your goals. Mentors can help you understand your choices and explain options when you need more information than is available from other sources. Mentors can help connect you with other resources. While meeting with your mentor is required once a semester to approve course selections for the following semester (University registration holds will not be lifted until the meeting is documented by your mentor), students are encouraged interact on a more frequent basis.

Mentor Assignment
A Bioengineering student matriculating to the department from the Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE) FIRST YEAR PROGRAM or as a TRANSFER STUDENT from another program (internal or external to SSoE), is assigned a faculty mentor who will help guide him/her through the program in preparation for his/her individual post-graduate goals. In order to distribute advising and mentoring responsibilities equitably among faculty mentors, students are assigned to mentors without regard to their intended track of study (which can change as the student progresses through the program and develops new interests, choosing a different track). All mentors are familiar with the undergraduate curriculum and interested in helping their advisees to successfully achieve the advisees post-graduate goals.
      Students who have not been notified of their faculty mentor prior to the start of their first academic semester as a Bioengineering student should contact the Bioengineering Undergraduate Administrator to have a mentor assigned.

Registration Advising/Mentoring Process
Student Responsibilities: Students are responsible for maintaining an up-to-date DEGREE PROGRESS WORKBOOK (DPW) that documents their progress through the Bioengineering Program course requirements. Students are also responsible for maintaining an up-to-date COMPREHENSIVE ELECTIVES PLAN (CEP) that documents their post-graduate goals and how their six track and two free advanced engineering/science electives are directed toward helping them achieve their goals. An up-to-date DPW and CEP must be brought to any meeting with your mentor to discuss course selections for the following semester. Without those documents, your mentor is free to cancel the meeting.
      Students should consult the UNIVERSITY COURSE DESCRIPTIONS website and PeopleSoft listings for course availability when making course selections. Although courses are fairly stable in terms of semester offered and days/time in a semester, changes are made without notice.
      PLEASE NOTE: The student, and only the student, is responsible for ensuring that all courses listed on the DPW are in compliance with degree requirements as posted in the BIOE UG PROGRAM DESCRIPTION. In other words, the student, and only the student, is responsible for ensuring that degree requirements have been met.

Mentor Responsibilities: You and your mentor will discuss your academic progress as recorded on your DPW, your post-graduate goals as elucidated in your CEP, and how your current course selections are directed toward meeting Bioengineering degree requirements and your post-graduate goals. In addition, expect your mentor to inquire about other actions on your part (e.g., COOPERATIVE EDUCATION, STUDY ABROAD, leadership in student organizations, and research activities) that are important to helping you reach your goals.
      Your mentor will document approval of your course selections after your meeting. Your University registration hold for the following semester will be lifted only after the mentor has done so.

General Mentoring Process
Students should feel free to consult with their mentor outside of the registration process. Your mentor is knowledgeable and has been through the education process and can help you through also. Your mentor is willing to help you reflect on what appropriate career aspirations might be and effective routes to realizing the aspirations. Do not ask your mentor to provide information that you can easily find on your own (e.g., search the Bioengineering website for program related answers - they are probably there).

Graduation Checkup
Bioengineering Seniors can ask for a "graduation checkup" the semester before expected graduation. The graduation checkup will compare courses listed on your DPW (which corresponds with Bioengineering Program requirements as posted in the BIOE UG PROGRAM DESCRIPTION) and your official university course record to assure that you will meet all requirements for graduation. Discrepancies between your DPW and the Bioengineering Program requirements will be noted in time for you to correct them the following semester.
      To request a graduation check-up, simply send an email to the Undergraduate Coordinator with Graduation Checkup in the subject line. Attach your current DPW. You will receive a response by email whether your intended course schedule as stated in your DPW satisfies graduation requirements or whether your DPW has deficiencies in satisfying graduation requirements.