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Understanding how diversity training impacts faculty mentors’ awareness and behavior

Stephanie C. House (Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
Kimberly C. Spencer (Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
Christine Pfund (Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 5 March 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how a mentor training intervention affected research scientists’ perceptions of diversity and their subsequent behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were originally collected as part of a randomized controlled trial measuring the effectiveness of a research mentor training intervention that covered six mentoring competencies, including addressing diversity. Here, the results of a secondary qualitative analysis of interviews with trained mentors, 135 faculty from 16 institutions from across the USA and Puerto Rico, are reported.

Findings

Analyses provide insights into how the diversity content of a mentoring intervention is interpreted, internalized, and acted upon. Mentors reported increased awareness, an expanded understanding of diversity and the implications of human differences, as well as a greater recognition of personal biases. While some were able to act on that increased awareness and make changes to their mentoring practice, most did not report doing so.

Social implications

Well-designed mentor training incorporating culturally aware practices could better prepare mentors to work successfully with mentees from diverse backgrounds. Cultivating a more culturally diverse scientific community is of benefit to science as well as society.

Originality/value

Little is known about how faculty perceive diversity or internalize training content on the topic, either within the context of mentoring or more broadly. This exploratory study provides unique insights into these phenomena and invites further research. Implications for mentoring relationships, mentor training initiatives, and efforts to address diversity are discussed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the authors’ colleagues, Angela Byars-Winston, Anna Kaatz, Nora Jacobson, and Simon Williams, for their careful review of drafts of this manuscript at various stages. The authors would also like to thank members of the ICTR Qualitative Research Group for their valuable feedback on multiple points in the authors’ analyses and writing process. This project was supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, through the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), grant UL1TR000427. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Citation

House, S.C., Spencer, K.C. and Pfund, C. (2018), "Understanding how diversity training impacts faculty mentors’ awareness and behavior", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 72-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-03-2017-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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