The authors view mentoring as an effective strategy to improve the retention of college students and faculty from fields where, historically, under representation has occurred and to aid to minority students, first generation students, and women in engineering and the sciences. For example, a 2000 Census found that White non-Hispanics earn bachelor's degrees at twice the rate of under-represented minority groups. In the recommendations, mentoring provides more goal-setting and the standardization of development skills. The entire process is intentionally designed to be supportive, nurturing, and protective. An additional component is having mentors discuss the genealogy so mentees understand how they belong within the long history of the discipline. "Providing equal access to higher education for all racial and ethnic groups is necessary to ensure opportunities for academic achievement of all groups, but is not sufficient to ensure proportionate outcomes," the authors conclude.
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Jean E. Girves is the director of the Ohio Science and Engineering Alliance, which is part of the National Science Foundation's Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program.
Dr. Girves is available for questions and interviews.
Yolanda Zepeda is the assistant director of Graduate Education and Diversity at Ohio State University. Ms. Zepeda is available for questions and interviews.