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Mentor FAQ

Become a ‘Friend’ of the Bredesen Center to get added to our contact list. Based on your preferences, we will keep you updated on opportunities to connect with current and future students, as well as network with other BC faculty. See the “Become a Mentor” page to get started.

Do you have an immediate need for a student?

Contact our recruiter, Timothy Guthrie, to advertise the opportunity right away.

While there are slight differences among the three programs. All BC students should be targeting the following milestones:

  • Confirm doctoral committee by end of year 2
  • Complete Comprehensive Exam no later than end of year 3
  • Dissertation Defense between year 4-6 (range factors differences between programs)

Program-specific details can be found in the Student Handbook, or by contacting the Program Director.

We understand that no two mentoring relationships look the same and challenges are expected.

The Program Directors and Bredesen Center Staff stand ready to help you by

  • listening, processing, and problem-solving
  • answering BC and UT policy and procedure questions
  • directing to resources both internally and externally

Reach out early! We would rather be aware of something that gets resolved on its own than have you and the student experience frustration.

If the student wishes to enroll in one of the BC programs, contact our recruiter! They will work with you and the student to make sure we can properly review them for admission. NOTE: Deadlines for applications occur in Fall/Winter before the enrollment year.


If the student is already in another program or wishes to enroll in one, we can help you identify the appropriate point of contact. However, we are not involved in the admissions process of non-BC programs.

If you leave your primary appointment at either ORNL or UTK, please notify BC Staff so we can:

  • insure smooth transition for any students you are currently mentoring
  • update committees or other roles you may participate in
  • update our records and remove you from unnecessary communications

This includes if you leave one institution to join the other — appointments at ORNL and UT are managed slightly differently, and we appreciate your help to insure accurate record-keeping.

Yes! While the BC requires a minimum stipend for our students, we welcome conversation with mentors regarding appropriate compensation for students under their direction.

Contact our Business Manager for process details

Contact Program Directors to document justification for the request (i.e. briefly explain the reason for the request)