» Go to news main

Introducing the BIPOC Graduate Student Mentoring Academy

Posted by Faculty of Graduate Studies on August 3, 2021 in News
Two women talk while sitting on a couch
Two women talk while sitting on a couch

Dear Students,

It is our great pleasure to share information on a new Dalhousie program to be launched this fall to support our students belonging to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities and how you can get involved as a member of a Graduate Student Advisory Council.

Beginning in September, the Faculty of Graduate Studies will host the BIPOC Graduate Student Mentoring Academy. The mentorship program for people of colour by people of colour will be an anti-racist initiative that addresses challenges, such as isolation, invisibility, and lack of guidance that occurs at Dalhousie due to systemic underrepresentation.

Initiated by a cross-disciplinary planning team, the program will offer professional development and mentoring dedicated to supporting the career aspirations of BIPOC graduate students. It will develop events led by BIPOC facilitators and will play a central role connecting graduate students of colour with mentors of colour.

There are at least 550 graduate students who self-identify as part of BIPOC communities at Dalhousie. It is our goal to ensure these students have the opportunity to connect with mentors who demonstrate meaningful pathways to success and the platform to build new networks that support their professional aspirations.

To formulate the goals of the academy, the BIPOC Mentoring Academy Executive Team consulted with members of Dalhousie’s BIPOC graduate student community, as well as the Anti-Racism Action Team, Faculty of Graduate Studies Faculty Council, Dalhousie Senate, Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, and Indigenous Health Advisory Committee. The executive team will continue to consult stakeholders for advice and to co-develop the initiative. The program has received financial support from all of Dalhousie’s research conducting faculties, as well as the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Dalhousie Libraries and the Office of the Vice President Research and Innovation.

Help build the program

As a first step, the executive team is recruiting 10 BIPOC graduate students from across disciplines and degree levels to join a Graduate Student Advisory Council. In this role you will help establish the program's direction and ensure it is built to meet the needs of you and your peers. To recognize your contributions, you will be eligible to receive an honorarium or research travel award for each term of service.

You will find an application form on our website. The application deadline is August 31, 2021.

Encourage a mentor

We also ask that you encourage BIPOC mentors who you feel would be a good fit for the program to get involved. With a goal of preparing graduate students for professional roles inside and outside of academia, the executive team is recruiting mentors from university instructors, researchers, and administrators to professionals in the government, non-government, and private sectors to community leaders, elders and others who can provide impactful guidance and advice.

In addition to making important contributions to the lives of students, they will learn how to engage students in meaningful conversations, advocate on their behalf, and facilitate goal setting and career planning.

If they are interested in getting involved, please ask them to email

We look forward to updating you on the progress of the BIPOC Graduate Student Mentoring Academy program in fall with the announcement of the Graduate Student Advisory Council and the first set of professional development events to be offered.


Dr. Marty Leonard
Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies

BIPOC Mentoring Academy Executive Team

Dr. Tim Bardouille
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science

Dr. Terrence Lewis
Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Michelle Patrick
Student Success Career Advisor, Bissett Student Success Centre

Sarah-Ann Upshaw
Program Manager, PLANS, Dalhousie University.

Tareq Yousef
PhD Candidate, Medical Neuroscience