Effectiveness of mentoring in science research
Disabled individuals, women, and cultural and ethnic minorities continue to be underrepresented in STEM. Research has shown that mentoring increases success for underrepresented individuals. Available mentoring survey instruments have all been developed for the majority population and were not intended to capture factors for successful mentoring of underrepresented groups. In this project, we are developing and validating a next-generation mentoring survey drawing from prior mentoring instruments, and incorporating capital theory and critical race theory. From critical race theory, this survey includes community cultural wealth, which is thought to be instrumental to the success of individuals from minority communities. Our survey focuses on mentoring relationships between Deaf and hard of hearing protégés and their research advisors. From the pilot survey results we have identified three segregating factors. The first two factors contain traditional capitals. The third factor, community cultural wealth, was well conferred when Deaf protégés were paired with mentors who were either Deaf or had knowledge of American Sign Language and Deaf culture. This next-generation survey is geared for improving the success of underrepresented groups in STEM and can be used for hypothesis testing or for generating constructive feedback for mentors. Our results so far suggest that cultural awareness training may be a strategy for improving mentoring effectiveness.