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What makes a great mentor? Biogeoscience Section members provide some insights A trait based approach to defining valued mentoring qualities Elise Pendall.

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Presentation on theme: "What makes a great mentor? Biogeoscience Section members provide some insights A trait based approach to defining valued mentoring qualities Elise Pendall."— Presentation transcript:

1 What makes a great mentor? Biogeoscience Section members provide some insights A trait based approach to defining valued mentoring qualities Elise Pendall 1 and Anne Bowen 2 University of Wyoming, 1 Department of Botany and Program in Ecology, Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing 2, Laramie, Wyoming 82071, USA contact: ED13A-0768 Mentoring Qualities Introduction Women make up close to half of graduate students in Biogeoscience related programs Attrition of women from science careers far exceeds that of men, with a gender gap especially notable in mid-career Availability of appropriate mentors demonstrating work-life balance may improve retention of women in science Methods: To address mentoring questions, we conducted an electronic survey of B members and affiliates with questions about traits they value in their mentors. personal qualities such as approachability, humor and encouragement; background including gender, ethnicity, and family status; scientific qualities including seniority, breadth of perspective, and level of expectations; and community-oriented qualities such as peer-mentoring In this preliminary analysis of data collected from Nov 7-23, 2012, results are compared by gender, within the broadly defined Biogeoscience community. By focusing on the role of mentoring, we hope to contribute to the growing discussion on building a diverse and balanced scientific workforce. Mentoring is Important Undergraduate research is thus a key stepping stone to graduate school Among current graduate students, 16% of women reported having no mentor, while 8% of men reported having no mentor For grad students with mentors, 25% of women and 23% of men reporting having a female mentor Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring: A Biogeosciences Section Award Consider DONATING to the Sulzman Fund to help endow the Award! https://www.agu.org/get_involved/giving/donate/sulzman.php Consider NOMINATING a candidate to receive the Award! Qualified women are within 15 years of receiving their Ph.D. degrees, in career paths broadly related to Biogeosciences, and demonstrate excellence in science education and mentoring. Nominations are open Jan 15 to March 15, This newly established award recognizes AGU members who have sustained an active research career in a field related to Biogeosciences, while excelling as teachers and serving as role models for the next generation of female scientists. The Sulzman Award acknowledges the importance of female mentors in enhancing gender balance in science career paths. Who Responded? We received 429 responses, 60% women, which does not reflect the gender balance within the Biogeosciences Section (32% women) The women who responded were younger on average than the men who responded Ethnicity: Those who responded overwhelmingly identified themselves as non-Hispanic White (>80%) AGU has a lot of room for improvement in ethnic diversity Career Status: Most of the women who responded were postdocs and graduate students; most of the men were full professors and research scientists. This reflects the age distribution of the sample. Women over 45 were most likely to be research scientists, whereas men over 45 were most likely to be full professors. Men did not care about their mentor’s gender but women did Men felt that their mentor’s consideration of work-life balance had neutral to positive effects on their careers Women were more likely to feel their mentor’s consideration of work-life balance negatively affected their careers Did your mentor’s consideration of work-life balance impact your career? Strongly negative Strongly positive About 70% of survey respondents – both male and female – worked in academic research as undergraduates Career Outcomes The majority of all respondents felt that their career decisions were mostly a matter of personal choice Men were slightly more likely than women to report that their career path was mainly a personal choice Are your career decisions mainly choice or fate? The majority of all respondents were satisfied with their “balancing act” Men were more likely to agree with this statement while women were more likely to disagree As women and men create a more satisfactory work-life balance for themselves, they will be better role models Are you satisfied with your work-life balance? Improving the Culture of Mentoring Many of the trends we found can be explained by demographics of our sample (younger, early career women and older, established men) These generational differences go along with differences in expectations and role models Mentoring programs improve retention of women in later career stages Professional mentoring awards like the Sulzman Award raise awareness Mentors were generally perceived as being fair, moderately relaxed, and competitive Women considered their mentors as being more energetic, stimulating, active, tough, and open-minded than men perceived their mentors, regardless of the mentors’ gender How did you view the personality traits of your mentor?


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