Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 471–482

Mentoring: Some ethical considerations


DOI: 10.1007/s11948-001-0004-z

Cite this article as:
Weil, V. SCI ENG ETHICS (2001) 7: 471. doi:10.1007/s11948-001-0004-z


To counter confusion about the term ‘mentor’, and address concerns about the scarcity of mentoring, I argue for an “honorific” definition, according to which a mentor is virtuous like a saint or hero. Given the unbounded commitment of mentors, mentoring relationships must be voluntary. In contrast, the role of advisor can be specified, mandated, and monitored. I argue that departments and research groups have a moral responsibility to devise a system of roles and structures to meet graduate students’ and postdoctoral fellows’ needs for information and advice.


mentoradvisorrole modelvoluntaryethical dutycollective responsibilitydepartmentresearch grouplaxityscarcitytransmissionethical standards

Copyright information

© Opragen Publications 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Study of Ethics in the ProfessionsIllinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoUSA