Effective Mentoring of Minority Students

Dear MentorDoctor,

We have very few minority students in our science programs. In addition, we have difficulty retaining those who do come. I think one way to deal with this issue is for our science faculty to develop more effective mentoring techniques when advising the students. How can I encourage my colleagues to see the urgency of this problem?

--Nia Jones

Dear Nia,

Thanks for your question. The problem that you mention about the difficulty of recruiting and retaining minorities in the sciences is nationwide. I found that the best way to sensitize faculty members about good mentoring is through a half-day workshop. Faculty members at your institution with more experience could organize the workshop with the aim of improving mentoring skills. Students should be invited to participate because they will be able to provide valuable insights to faculty members. It is important to have a variety of interactive activities such as role playing and group work. And one strategy for getting faculty participation is the promise of great food! If you feel that you need additional expertise to organize the workshop, I would be happy to provide you with some additional names of experienced faculty mentors at nearby institutions who could assist you. If I can be of additional help, don't hesitate to contact me.

--The MentorDoctor

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