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At the Graduate Level

ASA’s now 38-year-old pre-doctoral Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) provides annual stipends, mentoring, training support, access to professional networks, and continuous guidance and evaluation to individual scholars in close cooperation with host university doctoral programs. Through 2010, MFP was supported by a series of large T-32 training grants from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). After 2010, a discipline-wide pledge campaign was instituted to ensure ongoing support of the MFP from sociological organizations and individuals. Sociologists for Women in Society, for example, donated $100,000 plus ongoing annual support. Through MFP, ASA has supported the training and career development of nearly 300 minority scholars earning the Ph.D. in sociology. MFP Fellows are nationally recruited and competitively selected by an appointed advisory panel each spring, and their progress is monitored both during and after the PhD.

Findings from Recent National Science Foundation-Funded Research about MFP

ASA received an NSF research grant to compare the past 13 years of MFP PhDs to a random sample of sociology PhD recipients from the same period. We hypothesized that MFP leveled the playing field and that Fellows would be equally successful at securing the “ideal” academic career as measured by employment at research-extensive schools, number of peer reviewed journal articles (including in “top” journals), grants awarded, on-time tenure receipt, and disciplinary recognition. Table E-18-2 shows that MFP scholars are equally likely as the random sample of largely white students to receive tenure, are more likely to receive grants, and are more likely to become leaders in the discipline. They are, however, less likely to publish. However, if their dissertation advisor was a minority faculty member, they were more likely to publish in graduate school, suggesting the importance of increasing the number of minority senior scholars in the discipline.

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