Texas ECE Partners is part of a college-wide effort across all seven departments in the Cockrell School of Engineering to help MS and PhD students in their first year of enrollment to:
- Feel welcome and connected to their departmental community
- Build social and professional connections with other grad students, staff, and faculty in their academic department
- Receive guidance on career paths, networking, professional development, work/life balance
This inclusion effort fosters interpersonal connections and social-emotional support for newly enrolling graduate students. The program is intended to promote a culture of mentoring in the department and complement existing academic advising and research supervision.
Each small group or "pod" is comprised of four first-year MS and PhD Texas ECE mentees, two advanced graduate student peer mentors, and one faculty mentor. To enable social connections with others in the pod, pod members are matched by common characteristics such as hobbies and dietary restrictions while trying to have diversity in curriculum track, gender identities, and racial/ethnic identities.
Program-wide monthly events include discussions on subjects such as "Efficient Time Management" and "Next Steps: MS or PhD," as well as meet-and-mingle social events. Pods keep in communication with each other throughout the semester using platforms such as Slack and Canvas as well as text and email.
Mentees get the opportunity to meet and interact with other students in their academic track which provides an ongoing peer support network during their time in the department.