Register Now for Ph.D. Coaching and Mentoring Groups This Fall

Portraits of 15 people on background of Duke campus.
Three coaches and 12 peer mentoring fellows are available to lead small groups of doctoral students in the fall.

This fall, the Office for Interdisciplinary Studies is offering two sets of opportunities for Ph.D. students in all disciplines. Registration is now open, and students can register for fall groups by July 1.

Rising Second Year and Above Ph.D. Students

The Ph.D. Transitions Group Coaching Program helps students navigate the many changes and learning curves embedded in a five-to-seven-year doctoral program. Facilitated by a professional coach, each group provides a confidential space for Ph.D. students within the company of a small group of supportive peers. Coaching can accommodate a wide variety of topics. Popular ones from past participants include:

  • Developing more productive working relationships
  • Expanding networks of mentors and collaborators
  • Adjusting to a new stage or set of expectations in one’s program
  • Developing work (or life) strategy for a summer or semester
  • Productivity and time management
  • Cultivating work/life balance

Learn about the program, meet the coaches and register by Friday, July 1.

Incoming First-Year Ph.D. Students

The Ph.D. Peer Mentoring Program is designed to help new doctoral students flourish during their first semester on campus. Facilitated by trained peer mentoring fellows, these groups provide a nonjudgmental and confidential space for participants to discuss issues related to their Ph.D. training. No two groups will be alike. The topics, discussions and activities will be shaped by the interests and skills of the peer mentoring fellow and the participants. However, every group will provide:

  • Multiple, fresh perspectives on issues and questions that participants bring to the groups
  • Support and strategies for enhancing participants’ resilience and well-being in graduate school
  • Opportunities for participants to realize that they are not alone in the challenges they face as Ph.D. students
  • Ways for participants to widen their academic, professional and social networks across Duke and to mentor other Ph.D. students

Learn more and view peer mentors’ profiles and register by Friday, July 1.


Please email Dr. Maria Wisdom, director of interdisciplinary mentoring and coaching programs, at

Call for Proposals/Fellows: The Duke Ph.D. Student Peer Mentoring Fellows Program

Become a Duke Ph.D. student peer mentoring fellow.

Deadline: March 31, 2022

The Office of Interdisciplinary Studies is accepting proposals from Ph.D. students as part of the Duke Peer Mentoring Fellows Program. Student recipients will serve as peer mentors for first-year Ph.D. students in Fall 2022 and work together as a cohort to learn best practices and hone their skills in peer mentoring and small group facilitation.

An information session will be held on Wednesday, March 23, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. No registration is necessary. All may join using this Zoom link.


In 2021, Trinity College for Arts & Sciences introduced a pilot program of 12 advanced Ph.D. students to serve as peer mentoring fellows and provide mentorship in small, interdisciplinary group settings for more than 65 early-stage Ph.D. students. Following that successful pilot, the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies will recruit another class of fellows who demonstrate leadership in building a strong culture of inclusive peer mentoring, well-being and resilience, to better support incoming first-year Ph.D. students.

Peer Mentoring

Traditionally, “mentoring” has assumed a 1:1 model, in which a more senior, experienced person guides and initiates a younger person into their discipline or profession. While this type of advising remains critical to Ph.D. student success (such as Ph.D. program faculty advisors), the Ph.D. Student Peer Mentoring Program seeks to introduce students to a broader, contemporary understanding of mentoring, which acknowledges the significant influence of both “horizontal” (peer) mentoring, as well as the potential for mentoring within small groups. For the purposes of this program, “peer mentoring” refers to the practices students take to support one another’s professional growth and personal development, regardless of career aspiration.


We seek applications from Duke Ph.D. students (any discipline, program or school), currently in the second year of their program or beyond. Up to 12 fellowships will be awarded. Working closely with Dr. Maria Wisdom, director of interdisciplinary mentoring and coaching programs, peer mentoring fellows will:

  • Participate in peer mentor training (a dedicated section of “Best Practices in Mentoring” through the Duke Graduate Academy) in May 2022
  • Commit to leading their own interdisciplinary peer mentoring group (up to 8 Ph.D. students; at least 4 convenings) in Fall 2022
  • Continue to check in monthly with Maria Wisdom and the fellows cohort throughout Fall 2022
  • Write a brief final report of their activities in December 2022
  • Receive a stipend of $1,000 (provided to their department for the September 2022 payroll cycle)

Peer mentoring fellows will hone skills highly valued across multiple professional realms, such as active listening, group facilitation, basic coaching techniques and supporting a range of diverse learners and learning goals. Fellows will also cultivate a deeper awareness of their current roles as mentees, to support them in key advising relationships (such as with Ph.D. program advisors) and to help strengthen their ability to mentor others effectively in turn.


All active Duke Ph.D. students currently in the second year of their program or beyond are eligible for this program. All fellows must reside in one of the U.S. jurisdictions approved for Duke employment: North Carolina, District of Columbia, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.


Peer mentoring fellows will receive a stipend of $1,000, provided to their department for the September 2022 payroll cycle.

Proposal Requirements

The Office of Interdisciplinary Studies uses Formstack to receive applications. You will be asked to provide the following:

  1. A personal statement (maximum 2 pages), explaining your interest in the program and how it will contribute to your larger personal and/or professional goals. Please also discuss any previous significant experiences with advising, teaching, coaching or mentoring others.
  2. Contact information for two professional references who can speak for mentoring potential
  3. Current CV (maximum 2 pages)
  4. Completed online participation approval form signed by either your department director of graduate studies or your dissertation advisor

Review Process and Selection Criteria

The application process may include a phone or virtual interview. Applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee including Duke faculty, administrators and at least one former peer mentoring fellow.


RFP released 3/9/2022
RFP deadline for submission 3/31/2022, 5:00 p.m.
Recipients notified 4/21/2022
Stipend provided 9/1/2022

Submission Instructions

Please submit proposal information by March 31, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. via this Formstack application form.

Contact for Questions

For questions about this funding opportunity, please contact Maria Wisdom, director of interdisciplinary mentoring and coaching programs, at For technical questions about the Formstack application, please contact Amy Feistel, interdisciplinary priorities coordinator, at