•  
  •  
 

Abstract

While mentoring has been identified as a valuable resource in recruiting and retaining underrepresented minority (URM) faculty, little research has examined the difference in mentoring needs of early- and mid-career engineering URM faculty members. As these needs can change as they navigate academia and the tenure process, mentors can effectively provide guidance and support only when they have been identified. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to determine the mentoring needs and activities of early- and mid-career URM engineering faculty who participated in the IMPACT mentoring program and how their needs were met (Moustakas, 1994). The IMPACT program and the associated research were supported by a National Science Foundation Office for Broadening Participation in Engineering award (15-42728 and 15-42524). The Ideal Mentoring Model for URM Faculty served as the theoretical framework and the study included interviews with 11 early- to mid-career faculty who provided an in-depth understanding of the participants’ needs and activities. Findings indicate all faculty members seek career development support in navigating the engineering promotion and tenure process. However, mid-career faculty display greater interest in receiving sponsorship and coaching from their mentors, as well as an awareness of the importance of having a network of mentors.

Keywords

Faculty, Mentoring, Underrepresentation, Engineering Professoriate, Phenomenology

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Sylvia Mendez is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Leadership, Research, and Foundations at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Dr. Mendez’s research centers on the educational attainment and schooling experiences of Mexican descent youth in the mid-20th century, creating optimal higher education environments for student success, and effective faculty mentoring practices. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: smendez@uccs.edu.

Jennifer Tygret is an educational researcher and lecturer at University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: jatygret@gmail.com.

Valerie Martin Conley is the Dean of the College of Education. She is a nationally recognized University administrator, higher education researcher, author, and professor of 27 years. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: vconley@uccs.edu.

Comas Lamar Haynes is a research faculty member of the Georgia Tech University Strategic Energy Research Institute in the areas of Energy Modeling, Simulation, Systems Integration, Energy and Thermal Systems. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: comas.haynes@gtri.gatech.edu.

Rosario A. Gerhardt is a Professor at the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. She is also the Goizueta Foundation Senior Faculty Chair at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: rosario.gerhardt@mse.gatech.edu.

Acknowledgements

This study is part of a larger project focused on the Increasing Minority Presence within Academia through Continuous Training (IMPACT) mentoring program that pairs emeriti and URM early- and mid-career engineering faculty for career mentorship. The IMPACT program and the associated research were supported by a National Science Foundation Office for Broadening Participation in Engineering award (15-42728 and 15-42524). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations are only those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2018 American Association for Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. We are grateful for the comments and suggestions provided by the AAC&U and The Qualitative Report reviewers.

Publication Date

4-5-2020

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Share

 
COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.