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Vision, Mission, and Goals

Vision: Promote gender parity in the academic environment among students, faculty, and staff at The University of Memphis

Mission: To build a mentoring community of women+ at The University of Memphis

Goals: Share knowledge and best practices about retaining women+ at all levels in academia; Workshop research ideas; Discuss computational approaches; Foster mentorship across rank attainment and disciplines.

Goals for the CoRS proposal

The overarching purpose of the CoRS proposal is to fund the implementation and evaluation of the Women+’s Mentorship Network activities to address to following mentoring network goals:

  1. Increase membership across departments/colleges/disciplines and status/rank including students and staff
  2. Increase diversity of advisory board and membership
  3. Incentivize 1-on-1 mentorship for 25 pairs of mentors-mentees
  4. Host bi-monthly meeting to allow for networking and to provide membership with substantive skills related to navigating the hidden curriculum (students, post-docs, early career faculty, and senior faculty), and being a mentor
  5. Develop a mentorship network website (https://blogs.memphis.edu/memtership/) with resources for students, faculty (contingent, instructional, clinical, tenure-track, recently tenured), and staff.
  6. Explore best practices for creating a university mentorship network via ethnographic interviews with academics at other institutions who have done this work (Dr. Angela Bos, College of Wooster and others) to create a “how to” publication for starting mentor shipgroups
  7. Develop an internally-queryable database to promote collaborations/mentorship opportunities across issue areas, disciplines, and methodological approaches
  8. Encourage MENtorship by working with male faculty to facilitate mentorship of women+ students, faculty, and staff
  9. Encourage work towards retaining, promoting, and matriculating talented women+ scholars, faculty, and staff
  10. Network with other mentoring efforts on campus (First Generation Scholars; ADVANCE program in STEM, Peer Power, etc.)

Evaluation of Success and Impact

Surveys and/or focus groups will be used to assess participant perceptions about (1) monthly meeting presentations, (2) mentorship network website, (3) database, (4) experiences of selected mentor-mentee pairs, and (5) spring conference sessions. Additionally, the successful publication of the manuscript on best practices for starting mentorship networks will provide evidence of impact.

Intellectual Merit

We are applying for the Community of Research Scholars grant because we believe that this project has the potential to genuinely create a community of scholars, from undergraduate through graduate and professional programs, to post-doctoral and contingent faculty, to junior tenure track and senior tenured faculty, and to also include women+ staff members seeking mentorship.

Mentorship networks are the fibers that knit together ideas, scholars, and successful collaborations that keep women+ in academia. As Windsor and Crawford (2020) suggest, the metaphor for women+ leaving academia is not a “leaky pipeline” as has been the standard description; rather, it is like the game of “chutes and ladders.” Women+ climb the ladders at greater rates when they have access to mentorship, and avoid the chutes when they have support and resources to help them navigate the career terrain. This involves a mix of substantive skill-building (e.g., grantwriting and publishing peer reviewed articles), learning the hidden curriculum, providing networking opportunities, and fostering a community of supportive men+ mentors. Additionally, there is a paucity of research on best practices for starting mentoring networks, so we plan to conduct research with academics who have created these networks.

Disciplinary Perspectives of CoRS Team Members

The CORS team members have been chosen for their diversity in discipline/home department/college and their position rank (staff, research faculty, pre-tenure faculty, associate professors within 3 years of receiving tenure, full professors with departmental or college-level administrative duties). The PI from the recently-awarded NSF ADVANCE grant is on the advisory board.

Deliverables

  • Campus-wide survey and database of scholars
  • Mentor-mentee matches
  • Virtual mentoring meet-ups
  • Outreach to men+ mentors
  • Ethnographic survey of mentoring efforts at peer universities
  • Journal article on developing mentorship networks
  • Virtual conference
  • Website and list of resources and best practices
  • Expansion and diversification of advisory board