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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering ADVISER, TEACHER, ROLE MODEL, FRIEND ON BEING A MENTOR TO STUDENTS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1997
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: This volume was produced as part of a project approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. It is a result of work done by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) as augmented, which has authorized its release to the public. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by COSEPUP and the Report Review Committee. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Under the authority of the charter granted to it by Congress in 1863, the Academy has a working mandate that calls on it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the NAS. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) was established in 1964, under the charter of the NAS, as a parallel organization of distinguished engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of members, sharing with the NAS its responsibilities for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the NAE. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was established in 1970 by the NAS to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the NAS in its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the IOM. The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) is a joint committee of the NAS, the NAE, and the IOM. It includes members of the councils of all three bodies. Financial Support: The development of this guide was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund. Dissemination support for this guide was provided by the American Mathematical Society. Internet Access: This report is available via World Wide Web at http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/mentor. Order from: National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20418. Pricing: 1 copy, $7.95; 2–9 copies, $6.50 each; and 10 or more copies, $4.95 each. Call for quotes on very large orders. All orders must be prepaid with delivery to a single address. Prices are subject to change without notice. To order by credit card, call 1-800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in Washington metropolitan area). International Standard Book Number: 0-309-06363-9 Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. This document may be reproduced solely for educational purposes without the written permission of the National Academy of Sciences. Cover illustration by Leigh Coriale. Printed in the United States of America First Printing, November 1997 Second Printing, March 1998
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND PUBLIC POLICY PHILLIP A. GRIFFITHS (Chair), Director, Institute for Advanced Study BRUCE M. ALBERTS,* President, National Academy of Sciences WILLIAM F. BRINKMAN, Vice President, Physical Sciences Research, AT&T Bell Laboratories ELLIS B. COWLING, University Distinguished Professor At-Large, North Carolina State University GERALD P. DINNEEN, Retired Vice President, Science and Technology, Honeywell, Inc. MILDRED DRESSELHAUS, Institute Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MARYE ANNE FOX, Vice President for Research, University of Texas at Austin RALPH E. GOMORY, President, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation M.R.C. GREENWOOD, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Cruz RUBY P. HEARN, Vice President, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation MARIAN KOSHLAND, Professor of Immunology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley THOMAS D. LARSON, Professor Emeritus, The Pennsylvania State University PHILIP W. MAJERUS, Washington University School of Medicine DANIEL L. McFADDEN, Director, Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley KENNETH I. SHINE,* President, Institute of Medicine MORRIS TANENBAUM, Vice President, National Academy of Engineering WILLIAM JULIUS WILSON, Malcolm Wiener Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University WILLIAM A. WULF,* President, National Academy of Engineering LAWRENCE E. McCRAY, Executive Director DEBORAH D. STINE, Associate Director * Ex officio member.
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering PROJECT GUIDANCE GROUP DAVID R. CHALLONER (Chair), Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Florida ELLIS B. COWLING, University Distinguished Professor At-Large, North Carolina State University MILDRED DRESSELHAUS, Institute Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MARIAN KOSHLAND, Professor of Immunology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley MARY J. OSBORN, Department of Microbiology, University of Connecticut Health Center WILLIAM JULIUS WILSON, Lucy Flower University Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, University of Chicago Principal Project Staff DEBORAH D. STINE, Project Director ALAN ANDERSON, Consultant-Writer PATRICK P. SEVCIK, Research Associate LYNNE GILLETTE, Staff Officer NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Editor
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering PREFACE This guide—intended for faculty members, teachers, administrators, and others who advise and mentor students of science and engineering—attempts to summarize features that are common to successful mentoring relationships. Its goal is to encourage mentoring habits that are in the best interests of both parties to the relationship. While this guide is meant for mentoring students in science and engineering the majority of it is widely applicable to mentoring in any field. This guide is descended from a series of related publications. The original concept grew out of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) report Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers (1995), which showed that students need to be flexibly prepared for a range of careers and urged that graduate education be revised so as to prepare students better for productive and satisfying careers. (See Addendum.) Discussions during and after the preparation of Reshaping indicated the need for a guide for students who are planning their education and professional careers. The guide that emerged, Careers in Science and Engineering: A Student Planning
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering Guide to Grad School and Beyond (1996), sought to help students take a broader view of the potential applications of their science and engineering education. A related student guide, which considers questions of ethics and scientific integrity, is On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research (1995). In the process of developing Careers, graduate and post-doctoral students in focus groups noted that faculty and advisers needed guidance as well to adapt to changing employment conditions. This guide is meant to complement Careers by assisting mentors and advisers in understanding how they might help students identify and respond to the challenges of becoming scientists or engineers. For convenience, the text contains several types of boxes: Tips: Steps to improve mentoring. Styles: Examples of poor and good mentoring. Facts: The context of mentoring. Profiles: A sample of nonacademic careers, from Careers in Science and Engineering: A Student Planning Guide to Grad School and Beyond. Summary points: Chapter summaries. COSEPUP has also developed a sample form to help evaluate faculty mentors. The form can be adapted by individual institutions to suit their own needs. The version of the form offered here is most appropriate for use by advanced graduate students (for example, third-year and higher PhD students), postdoctoral fellows, and recent doctoral-program graduates who have had a long relationship with a mentor. The book and the form are both at the following Web address: http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/mentor. See "Mentoring; under "Resources; for further discussion of assessment methods.
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The preparation of this guide was overseen by a guidance group consisting of David Challoner (chair), Ellis Cowling, Mildred Dresselhaus, Marian Koshland, Mary Osborn, and William Julius Wilson. Valuable feedback was provided by an external advisory group composed of Douglas Bodner, George Campbell Jr., Carlos Gutierrez, Karen Harpp, Susan Kiehne, Susan Lasser, Susan Mims, Norine Noonan, Richard Tapia, and Michael Zigmond. Special thanks go to Beth Fischer and Michael Zigmond for excellent references, Martha Shumate Absher for information on students with disabilities, and Marjorie Olmstead for her article on mentoring junior faculty. Three focus groups, attended by some four dozen faculty and students from 16 colleges and universities, gathered for helpful and spirited discussions of this guide in Washington, DC, at Sigma Xi in Research Triangle Park, NC, and at the California State University, Long Beach. Thanks go to Lynne Gillette, Ellis Cowling, Stuart Noble-Goodman, and Glenn Nagel for recruiting the focus groups.
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering Staff for the project included Deborah Stine, associate director of COSEPUP and project director; Lynne Gillette, staff officer on temporary assignment from the Department of Energy; Alan Anderson, science writer; Norman Grossblatt, editor; and Patrick Sevcik, research associate.
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering CONTENTS 1 WHAT IS A MENTOR? 1 The Mentoring Relationship 3 Professional Ethics 7 Population-Diversity Issues 7 2 THE MENTOR AS FACULTY ADVISER 17 Mentoring Undergraduates 17 Mentoring Graduate Students 23 Mentoring Postdoctoral Students 36 Mentoring Junior Faculty 39 3 THE MENTOR AS CAREER ADVISER 43 Envisioning and Planning a Career 44 Undergraduates: Early Perspectives 46 Graduate Students: Helping Students Become Colleagues 49 Postdoctoral Students: Finding a "Real" Job 50 The Career as Continuum 51 4 THE MENTOR AS SKILLS CONSULTANT 53 Developing Skills as an Undergraduate 53 Developing Skills as a Graduate Student 54 Skills for All Levels 56
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering 5 THE MENTOR AS ROLE MODEL 61 6 RECOMMENDATION: IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF MENTORING 65 7 RESOURCES 69 Internet Resources 69 Gender, Cultural, and Disability Issues 71 Bibliography 72 LIST OF BOXES TIPS Advice for New Mentors 8 Building Respect 18 Aptitudes and Goals 44 Two Key Career Questions to Discuss with Students 45 Writing Letters of Recommendation 47 Building Trust 55 STYLES Good Mentoring: Seeking Help 6 Poor Mentoring: Cultural Bias (1) 10 Poor Mentoring: Cultural Bias (2) 11 Poor Mentoring: Inappropriate Behavior 12 Good Mentoring: Academic Warning Signs 20 Poor Mentoring: When Is a Risk Worth Taking? 22 Good Mentoring: Socialization 29 Good Mentoring: Being Flexible 48 Poor Mentoring: Honest Advice 50 Good Mentoring: Breaking Through Red Tape 70
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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering FACTS Why Be a Good Mentor? 3 Three Logistical Issues to Discuss with Doctoral and Postdoctoral Candidates 30 A Resume or a CV? 37 PROFILES A Mathematics Major Who Became an Actuary 25 A Nurse Who Became a Research Manager 57 A Geneticist-Molecular Biologist Who Became a Patent Lawyer 62 SUMMARY POINTS Chapter 1 15 Chapter 2 42 Chapter 3 52 Chapter 4 60 Chapter 5 63 ADDENDUM Report Brief: Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers 79
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