The Compact for Faculty Diversity Research Mentoring Institute
Principal Investigator: Ken Pepion, PhD
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
The benefits of building a diverse workforce in the biomedical fields in terms of enhanced problem solving, greater understanding of health disparities that disproportionately affect minority communities, and increased international competitiveness have been widely recognized in the research and policy regarding the scientific workforce. Despite the need to tap into the unique talents of underrepresented groups, past efforts to achieve greater representation have met with only modest success. Among the many challenges to completing an advanced degree in the biomedical sciences and successful entrance into the workforce is the lack of effective and adequate mentoring provided to minority scholars who aspire to careers in science. Mentoring influences social interactions between students, peers and faculty, and has a positive relationship with scholarly publishing, degree completion, and time to degree. Other benefits of effective mentoring cited in the literature are increased student retention, greater research productivity, greater confidence and career satisfaction, and more successful recruitment into biomedical careers. The Compact for Faculty Diversity (CFD) proposes to address three of the NRMN Core activities through its National Institute on Research Mentoring whose aims are: 1) To expand and enhance the Compact for Faculty Diversity’s highly successful Institute on Teaching and Mentoring to include workshops and training activities specific to the aims of the Mentor Training Core of the NRMN; 2) Expand and enhance the Compact for Faculty Diversity’s highly successful Institute on Teaching and Mentoring to include workshops and training activities specific to the Professional Development Core of the NRMN; and 3) To mobilize and coordinate the extensive network of mentors and mentees developed over the 22 year history of the Compact for Faculty Diversity.
The CFD will continue to employ evaluation methods used in the highly successful Bridges to the Professoriate project to gauge the effectiveness of the intervention activities and the accomplishment of each training sessions’ learning outcomes. Participants in the Institute on Research Mentoring will evaluate institute sessions at the conference and rate the extent to which they have provided concrete strategies and methods to improve the quality of their mentoring experience. Ongoing participation in NRMNet will be evaluated in terms of its contributions to increased research productivity, such as the number of grant proposals submitted and awarded, the number of research articles submitted and published. Qualitative data will be gathered on the quality of mentoring from faculty mentors, and improvements in mentoring strategies on the part of faculty mentors. The CFD will collaborate with the CEC to track the ongoing progress of mentees toward the goal of sustaining a research career. As the CEC is charged with developing metrics to measure the attainment of the NRMN’s overall goals, the CFD assumes that the CEC will develop instruments and methodologies that are consistent across all NRMN and BUILD programs. Those instruments and methodologies will be implemented by the CFD and contribute to the larger collection and database housed at the CEC.