8 Building a Mentoring SystemTopOther elements of a successful mentoring environment7 Outreach

7 Outreach and Mentoring


Telle Whitney (Chair)

President, Anita Borg Institute
for Women and Technology
Yolanda George AAAS
Norman Fortenberry NAE
Richard Ladner University of Washington

This chapter provides advice and resources on how to spread the word on mentoring and on guides to mentoring throughout an academic career. Several concrete examples of mentoring programs are used to illustrate the issues.

Mentoring is important throughout an academic career. The following sections illustrate why mentoring is important at each stage of a career.

7.1 Students

Mentoring is a key determinant of retention of women and other minorities in Computer Science and Engineering.

Mentoring is important to undergraduates in Computer Science and Engineering in order to expose them to their career options, and to support them in making early career decisions. Another key role of mentors at the undergraduate level is attracting students to the field and reaching out to freshmen, and keeping the students excited and engaged about Computer Science and Engineering through original teaching and outreach activities, such as technology demonstrations, service learning, and multi-disciplinary research assignments. Peer mentoring is also important for recruiting prospective majors in their freshman year and at the high school level.

As a graduate student, mentoring is an important factor for navigating the system, and finding the right job. Research shows that graduate students who are mentored by faculty increase their academic self confidence. Graduate students with mentors are better able to finish their degree within the time frame desired by the advisor, publish, and build a resume. Mentoring is an important part of securing the right position. Mentors help graduate students choose and build a research area and agenda and develop adequate research skills. Part of a mentor's role is to promote his or her students in job talks, award nominations, committees, and creating professional connections for the student. For graduate students, peer support and peer mentoring is an important component of mentoring and should be encouraged at the graduate and undergraduate levels, such as women's groups or other minority groups, as well as matching younger students with more experienced students.

Research shows that if doctoral students know what their milestones are, their time to degree is shorter. Experience has shown that annual reviews help streamline completion of the doctorate. As an example, one campus sends electronic forms to faculty every four months with a list of expected milestones and timeframes. To encourage faculty attention, response to these forms needs to be considered as part of faculty promotion, tenure, and salary reviews. On the http://www.phdcompletion.org web site there is a list of sample questions that students should complete to track their progress.

Much of the effort with graduate student mentorship is related to making tacit knowledge more explicit. This role is important since the tacit knowledge is often made more available to some students than to others. Social groups of doctoral students help the spread of such knowledge, but mentors can help encourage the process and serve as a role model while they do so. Research also shows that students react positively to knowing that faculty struggle to solve problems too.

7.2 Junior faculty

At the junior faculty level, mentoring focuses on navigating the tenure track system. This time in their career is especially important to the retention of women and minorities, since in Engineering, less than 3% of full professors are women, and in Computer Science, about 10% of full professors are women, suggesting a strong glass-ceiling effect in academia. At the beginning of the new faculty's career, a mentor should advocate on their behalf to get the best possible starting conditions in terms of salary, research equipment, startup funding, and teaching load. The mentor helps the new faculty member understand departmental structures and processes and articulates the requirements and expectations for progress toward tenure, including the official and non-official requirements. Mentors and protégées should schedule frequent feedback sessions to track progression toward tenure. Of noteworthy importance is ensuring that a new faculty member's time is protected and focused on research. It is not uncommon for women and minorities to be asked to serve on an unusual number of department and school committees. Mentors can encourage quality students to work with the new faculty member and provide visibility of the junior faculty to their peers. Across levels, mentors need to be aware of the additional barriers and mentoring needs faced by those who belong to more than one minority group. These groups need additional mentoring opportunities because they experience multiple sources of marginalization. In one study, African American women faculty reported significant benefits from mentoring such as career counseling, feedback on research papers, letters of recommendation, and networking opportunities, as well as significant encouragement toward publication. At the junior faculty level, another key mentoring need is encouragement and advice on balancing work and family responsibilities and acknowledging the competing demands of the "tenure clock" and child rearing.

7.3 Senior faculty

Even tenured faculty needs mentoring from trusted colleagues on the road to greater recognition and full professorship. The need for mentoring at this career stage involves award nominations, opportunities for serving on prestigious committees, and recognition such as being named a member of the National Academies.

7.4 Organizations for women and minorities

Informal and Formal mentoring programs are an important part of all organizations aimed at supporting and developing women and minorities. The following are a list of organizations for women and minorities.

Organizations for Women

Organizations for Minorities

7.5 Mentoring research

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) put together a working group to review the mentoring research. The outputs from this group were a report, commissioned papers, bibliography, and a web site. What the committee found is that

AAAS has captured many of the resources on its web page

As a result of the study, AAAS came up with a set of recommendations for professional societies, foundations, and STEM departments.

Recommendations to professional societies

Recommendations to Foundations

Recommendations to STEM departments

7.6 Mentoring and the disabled student

Is there anything different about mentoring a research student with a disability? Generally the answer is that there is no difference. The role of the mentor is to help students achieve their potential in research. Each student is an individual with his or her own keys to success. Fitting the project to the student and not the other way around is the key. Challenging the student to be creative and having high expectations is important. At the same time, always be encouraging and recognize accomplishments.

That said, there are some special considerations in mentoring students with disabilities. Check that the accessibility needs of the students are being met. Make sure the student meets with the disability resources for students office or disabled student services office on your campus. Learn about the particular disability from the student, if he or she is willing to talk about it. Recognize that some students may not want their disability revealed because of the stigma that might be attached to it. For example, a student with a learning disability may not want other students to know. Recognize that working with a disabled student might take some adjustments on your part, but the student must adapt even more depending on the disability.

A program that was particularly effective was the Vertical Mentoring Workshop for the Blind in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics held in summer 2006 that was developed by Richard Ladner at the University of Washington. There were 45 participants, all blind, from high school, college, graduate school, and the professions. Among the group were six graduate students and six Ph.D. recipients. All speakers were blind, all breakout sessions were organized by blind participants, and technology was highlighted for accessibility. The concept of "vertical mentoring," also called "cascade mentoring," involves breaking a large group into several smaller groups, each of which mentors the group "below" it. An example of an outcome of the workshop was the impact of the mathematics accessibility breakout session on a talented high school student. During the breakout session, run by a graduate student, the high school student learned about Latex, a widely used and effective mark-up language for mathematics. The high school student already knew Nemeth code, which is a Braille code for mathematics, but she had a hard time communicating her math solutions to her teachers who did not know Braille. After the workshop was completed, the high school student wrote a program to translate Nemeth code to Latex. The Latex is then compiled and printed for her teachers. The mentoring by the older student empowered the younger to solve a problem.

Another successful program was the Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computing held in summer 2007 for 10 deaf and hard of hearing students who were considering entering computer science. Students in the academy took an introductory programming class and worked in teams on animation projects. There were also career building and mentoring activities where deaf and hard of hearing computing professionals met with the students as a group to tell them what it took to succeed. Each of the mentors also met with the students one-on-one to help build a mentor-protégé relationship. As an example of an outcome of the academy, one student changed his major to computer science and is now seeking higher goals.

The mentoring workshop and academy are just two approaches to reaching students with disabilities. In both cases, mentors were chosen with the same or similar disability. The advantage is that the mentor is also a role model who gives an existence proof that a disabled person can succeed at the highest levels. In most situations, a mentor will not also be a role model, because the mentor does not have a disability. Additionally, there may not be a program available for the student. In reality anyone can serve as a mentor to a student with a disability, but it is important to be aware of some of the pitfalls. You may want to give the disabled student a break by lowering your expectations. In reality, lowering expectations, out of pity, is not doing the student any favor at all. Do not hide disappointment when the student performs poorly. Finally, there are times when you have to change your behavior in order to be more inclusive. For example, at a group meeting that includes a blind student, it is often best for people to announce who is speaking before speaking. This small change in behavior makes the meeting more accessible to the blind participant.

There are a number of important resources:

7.7 Assessing participation and advancement
in engineering and science

The 2004 Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) recommendation to the US National Science Foundation (NSF) is to expand and improve accountability of grantees on the broader participation criterion, and to design and use policies that encourage PIs and their institutions to focus on the diversity aspects of the broader participation criterion.

Norman Fortenberry led an effort to advance the STEM community's initial response by convening a workshop to identify potential metrics for use in judging the participation and advancement of underrepresented populations and institutions in NSF-supported STEM activities. Their main suggestion is to juxtapose institutionally held data with funding received from NSF to look at human resource return on NSF investment. Every recipient of federal funds has to fill out an affirmative action plan and human resource utilization report, and this is one way to evaluate how the institutions are meeting their goals. If every grantee submitted this information to NSF, then as a practical matter, the (minimal) result might be augmentation of the current "Award Summary: Top 200 Institutions" to include data on the identified institutional metric and the tracking of this information over time. Additional sample metrics offered by workshop participants that could be used by individual principle investigators include comparisons of recruitment, retention, and promotion activities for faculty and teachers by gender and ethnicity over time, and numbers and rates of participation of students in research activities, publications, and presentations. This workshop is not an official NAE study and no report is forthcoming.

Attendees of the BIRS workshop liked the idea of "institutional audits." The idea makes sense given that you are looking at return on federal investments. A metric that would be helpful to track is information on PIs, which is collected but not reported on FastLane. Another question that is often not asked is who is being served by race, ethnicity, and disability. We particularly need the research directorates to report on the citizenship, gender, and ethtnicity of faculty and students who are supported by their grants. One idea is for follow-up with grantees is to survey past targets of the PI's efforts at "broadening participation" to see how they judge the success of their efforts.

7.8 Mentoring in academia: References

Prepared by Caroline Simard, PhD, Anita Borg Institute
July 2007
  1. Cuny, J. and W. Aspray, Recruitment and Retention of Women Graduate Students in Computer Science and Engineering. 2000, CRA-W.
  2. Margolis, J. and A. Fisher, Unlocking the clubhouse: Women in Computing. 2003: MIT Press.
  3. National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a mentor to students in science and engineering. 1997, Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  4. Gini, M., Mentoring Students, in Managing the Academic Career for Faculty Women at Undergraduate Computer Science and Engineering Institutions. CRA-W Workshop. 2007.
  5. Kauffman, L. and J. Stocks, eds. Reinvigorating the Undergraduate Experience: Successful Models Supported by NSF's AIRE/RAIRE Program, ed. C.o.U. Research.
  6. Matyas, M.L.E. and L.S.E. Dix, Science and engineering programs: On target for women?, 1990, National Academies Press.
  7. Ulku Steiner, B., B. Kurtz-Costes, and C.R. Kinlaw, Doctoral student experiences in gender-balanced and male-dominated graduate programs. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2000. 42: p. 296-307.
  8. Berman, F., ed. Getting a Job. Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research: Career Mentoring Workshops, ed. A. Redelfs. 2000, CRAW.
  9. Berman, F., ed. Building a Research Career. Computing Research Association - Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research: Career Mentoring Workshops, ed. A. Redelfs. 2000.
  10. Eve Riskin, Mari Ostendorf, Pamela Cosman, Michelle Effros, Jia Li, Sheila Hemami, Robert M. Gray. Mentoring for Academic Careers in Engineering, Proceedings of the PAESMEM/Stanford School of Engineering Workshop. 2004.
  11. Nicoloff, L.K. and L. Firrest, Gender issues in research and publication. Journal of College Student Development 1988. 29: p. 521-528.
  12. Irwin, M.J., ed. Tenure. Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research: Career Mentoring Workshops, ed. A. Redelfs. 2000.
  13. Davidson, M.N. and L. Foster-Johnson, Mentoring in the Preparation of Graduate Researchers of Color. Review of Educational Research, 2001. 71(4): p. 549-574.
  14. COSEPUP, Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the POtential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering. 2006, National Academy of Sciences.
  15. Bain, O. and W. Cummings, Academe's Glass Ceiling: Societal, Professional-Organizational, and Institutional Barriers to the Career Advancement of Academic Women. Comparative Education Review, 2000. 44(4): p. 493-514.
  16. Olmstead, M., Mentoring New Faculty: Advice to Department Chairs. CSWP Gazette, 1993. 13(1).
  17. Malcom, S.M., D.E. Chubin, and J.K. Jesse, Standing our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era. 2004, American Assicuation for the Advancement of Science National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.
  18. Sotello Viernes Turner, C., Women of Color in Academe: Living with Multiple Marginality. The Hournal of Higher Education, 2002. 73(1): p. 74-93.
  19. Dixon-Reeves, R., Mentoring as a precursor to incorporation: An assessment of the mentoring experience of recently minted PhDs. Journal of Black Studies, 2003. 34(1): p. 12-17.
  20. Cuny, J., ed. Time Management and Family Issues. Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research: Career Mentoring Workshops, ed. A. Redelfs. 2000.

7.9 Additional research and resources

Online resources

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science's NextWave

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Standing our Ground: A Guidebook for STEM Educators in the Post-Michigan Era. 2004,

Computing Research Association (CRA). The Ph.D. Job Hunt - Helping Students Find the Right Positions by Edward D. Lazowska

CRA-W: Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research

CRA-W Distributed Mentoring Project

Cuny, J. and W. Aspray, Recruitment and Retention of Women Graduate Students in Computer Science and Engineering. 2000, CRA-W.

Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research: Career Mentoring Workshops

Castaneda, Sheila. The Promotion and Tenure Process: Managing the Academic Career for Faculty Women at Undergraduate Computer Science and Engineering Institutions. Slides from CRA-W Workshop, March 7, 2000.

Anne Condon. From Associate To Full. CRA-W Workshops

Jeanne Ferrante, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Victoria Stavridou. Research as a Career. CRA-W Workshop.

Moyra McDill, Anne Condon, Mary Williams. 2000. Time Management
http://www.cs.ubc.ca/ condon/ccwest/CCWESTtimeMgm1.htm

Faith Fich, Elizabeth Cannon, and Serpil Kocabiyik. 2000. Getting a Job (Canada)
http://www.cs.ubc.ca/ condon/ccwest/CCWESTjob1.htm

Monique Frize and Maria Klawe. 2000. Getting Tenure.
http://www.cs.ubc.ca/ condon/ccwest/CCWESTtenure1.html

Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineering mentoring resources

Katherine Schultz, Lynette D. Madsen, and Claire Deschenes. Developing a Research Program (Canada).
http://www.cs.ubc.ca/ condon/ccwest/CCWESTresearch1.html

Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy's (COSEPUP)

Richard Ladner. Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers.

National Research Council: Career Planning Center for Beginning Scientists and Engineers (CPC)

National Academy Press: Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a mentor to students in science and engineering.

Robert M. Gray. 2006. Mentoring for Engineering in Academia.

Eve Riskin, Mari Ostendorf, Pamela Cosman, Michelle Effros, Jia Li, Sheila Hemami, Robert M. Gray. 2005. Mentoring for Academic Careers in Engineering: Proceedings of the PAESMEM/Stanford School of Engineering Workshop.

School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Women@SCS Initiative

University of Washington ADVANCE Mentoring Resources

University of Washington Access Computing. Working Together: Faculty and Students with Disabilities.

Mentor Net: The E-Mentoring Network for Diversity in Engineering and Science

Further Reading

Aisenberg, N., and Harrington, M. (1988). Women of academe: Outsiders in the Sacred Grove. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

Association for Women in Science. 1993. Mentoring Means Future Scientists. Washington, D.C.: Association for Women in Science.

Audi, R. 1994. "On the ethics of teaching and the ideals of learning," Academe, September-October: 27-36.

Baker, Shenda M., and Ash Merkel, Carolyn. How to Mentor Undergraduate Researchers, Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). Available from

Bird, S.J. 1994. "Overlooked aspects in the education of science professionals: Mentoring, ethics, and professional responsibility." J. Science Education and Technology 3:49-55.

Robert T. Blackburn, David W. Chapman, and Susan W. Cameron, "‘Cloning' in Academe: Mentorship and Academic Careers," Research in Higher Education, 15 (1981): 315-27;

Carol A. Mullen, Mentorship Primer (New York: Peter Lang, 2005)

Carol A. Mullen and Dale W. Lick, New Directions in Mentoring: Creating a Culture of Synergy (London: Falmer Press, 1999).

Council of Graduate Schools. 1990. Research Student and Supervisor: An Approach to Good Supervisory Practice. Washington, D.C.: Council of Graduate Schools.

Fort, C., Bird, S.J., and Didion, C.J. (eds.) 1993. A Hand Up: Women Mentoring Women in Science. Washington, D.C.: Association for Women in Science.

Johnsrud, L.K., and Atwater, C.D. (1993). Scaffolding the ivory tower: Building supports for faculty new to the academy. CUPA Journal, 1-14.

Knox, P.L. and McGovern, T.L. (1988). Mentoring women in academia. Teaching of Psychology, 15, 39.

Leon, D.J. (1993). Mentoring minorities in higher education: Passing the torch. Washington, D.C.: National Education Association.

Menges, R.J., and Exum, W.H. (1983). "Barriers to the progress of women and minority faculty." Journal of Higher Education, 59, 123-144.

Merriam, S.B., Thomas, T.K., and Zeph, C.P. (1987). "Mentoring in higher education: What we know now." The Review of Higher Education. 11, 199-210.

JoAnn Moody, Faculty Diversity: Problems and Solutions (New York: Routledge, 2004).

Noe, R.A. 1988. "An investigation of the determinants of successful assigned mentoring," Personnel Psychology 41:457-479.

Olmstead, M.A. (July, 1994). "Mentoring new faculty: Advice to department chairs." APS News. Redmond, S.P..

Olmstead, M.A. (1990) "Mentoring and cultural diversity in academic settings." American Behavioral Scientist, 34, 188.

Roberts, G.C. and Sprague, R.L. 1995. "To compete or to educate? Mentoring and the research climate," Professional Ethics Report VIII, 1:6-7, Fall.

Roberta G. Sands, L. Alayne Parson, and Josann Duane, "Faculty Mentoring in a Public University," Journal of Higher Education, 62, no. 2 (1991): 174-193.

Sandler, B.R. (1986). The campus climate revisited: Chilly for women faculty, administrators, and graduate students. Project on the Status and Education of Women. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges.

Sandler, B.R. (March 10, 1993). "Women as mentors: Myths and commandments." The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. B3.

Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner and Samuel L. Myers, Jr., Faculty of Color in Academe: Bittersweet Success (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000)

Surviving and Thriving in Academia: A Guide for Women and Ethnic Minorities. (May, 1998). Washington DC: American Psychological Association

Women Faculty Network (June, 1992). Information Brochure for Incoming Women Faculty. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Women in Science '93," (April, 1993). Science, 260.

Zelditch, M. 1990. "Mentor roles," in Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Western Association of Graduate Schools, 11. Tempe, Ariz., March 16-18.

November 15, 2007

8 Building a Mentoring SystemTopOther elements of a successful mentoring environment7 Outreach