Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students
A Research-Based Guide for Faculty and Administrators

Paper: 978 1 62036 296 9 / $35.00
Published: December 2015  

Cloth: 978 1 62036 295 2 / $95.00
Published: December 2015  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 62036 297 6 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: December 2015  

E-Book: 978 1 62036 298 3 / $27.99
Published: December 2015  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
180 pp., 6" x 9"
figures & tables
Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented College Students is a step-by-step, research-based guide for higher education faculty and administrators who are charged with designing mentoring programs to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups. Written by an acknowledged expert in the field of STEM mentoring, the book constitutes a virtual consultant that enables readers to diagnose the issues they face, identify priorities, and implement appropriate practices to achieve their goals.

The book describes the real and perceived barriers that underrepresented students—to include women, students of color, transfer students, and first-generation college students—encounter when considering enrollment, or participating, in science courses; considers the issues they face at the various transitions in their education, from entering college to declaring a major and moving on to a profession; and sets out the range of mentoring options available to program designers.

By posing key questions and using three running case illustrations of common dilemmas, the book walks readers through the process of matching the best design options with the particular needs and resources of their own department or campus. Intentionally brief and to the point, the book is nonetheless a comprehensive guide to the full range mentoring models and best practices, that also covers issues of institutional and departmental climate and teaching methods, and offers insider insights to help designers avoid pitfalls as they create effective, sustainable mentoring initiatives.

This guide will assist administrators working on new initiatives to broaden access and improve persistence and graduation in their programs, as well as apply for research grants, by clarifying objectives and identifying the effective evidence-based practices to achieve them. It also provides common conversation-starters for departments to identify obstacles to enrollment and broaden participation.

Table of Contents:


• Why do we need to recruit students into STEM and help them persist?
• Why is diversity in STEM valuable?
• Why is mentoring a worthy investment for STEM departments?
• What will you gain from this book?

1) Map the Landscape, Choose a Focus
• Map the landscape using the ecological model
• Primary factors influencing persistence: Obstacles and opportunities
• The big picture: The learning environment and department climate
• Reader next steps: Choose a focus

2) Mentoring With Intention: What’s Your Strategy?
• Intentional mentoring
• Approaches to mentoring
• Making decisions: Intensity and selectivity
• Start small with a pilot
• Reader next steps: Create a road map

3) What Works (and Why) During the Transition to College
• What works and why
• Improving the departmental climate for new students
• Case study with Bill Gomez
• Reader next steps: Explore your options during the transition to college

4) What Works (and Why) During the Transition to a STEM major
• What works and why
• Improving departmental climate for prospective and current majors
• Case study with Susan Mason
• Reader next steps: Explore your options during the transition to a STEM major

5) What Works (and Why) During the Transition to the Workplace or Graduate Studies
• What Works and why
• Improving departmental climate for upper-level students
• Case Study with Mark Sanderson
• Reader next steps: Explore your options for the transition to the workplace or graduate studies

6) Difficult Mentoring Moments: Framing Messages to Improve Impact
• Why some mentoring moments are difficult
• The benefits of mentor orientation sessions and other forms of practice
• Reader next steps: Invest in conversations about difficult mentoring moments

7) Conversations Among Colleagues: Departmental Climate as a Collective Project
• Changing climate, one conversation at a time
• Tracking your progress
• Reader next steps: Plan your department conversation

• Start small
• The tipping point
• Who do you want to be?
• Reader next steps: Summarize what you have learned

• Professional organizations and consortia
• Statistics, strategies, and tool kits
• Recommended books and reports



Reviews & Endorsements:
Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students illustrates and elucidates Packard’s considerable expertise and scholarship on an enduring and, for some disciplines and education settings, a seemingly intractable set of issues. Rather than ‘tinkering around the edges’ by addressing only several variables, Packard tackles underrepresentation from the perspectives of both students and of the education system they will encounter. This comprehensive systems approach is refreshing and, in many ways, unique. It offers evidence-based advice to those in higher education who are undertaking the critically important work of increasing representation of historically underserved and unserved students and helps readers understand where and how their roles and actions must be based on efforts that have preceded their own and how their own work will influence others in the system as students pass through it on their ways to STEM careers. It is a refreshing and much-needed approach.”
- Jay B. Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communication , National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
"In Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students, Becky Wai-Ling Packard addresses a longtime need of those seeking to develop more diverse and inclusive scientific and technical communities. To ensure access to useful mentoring for students approaching these communities, she provides a wonderful compendium of research-based strategies and insights that can be adapted in a wide variety of settings. I am grateful to her, as a colleague and collaborator, for having taken the time to provide actionable advice to the many who are in a position to provide mentoring that can improve learning, scientific discovery, innovation, technology development, and lives."
- Carol B. Muller, Founder, MentorNet, and Executive Director, WISE Ventures , Stanford University