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Contextual Factors Affecting Graduate Student Mentoring

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Mentoring Graduate Students

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

12.402.1 - 12.402.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2349

Download Count

17

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Paper Authors

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Lisa Frehill

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Lisa M. Frehill holds doctoral and masters degrees in sociology from the University of Arizona and a B.S. in industrial engineering from General Motors Institute. She is now the Executive Director of the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology.

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Amanda Lain New Mexico State University

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Amanda Lain, holds a Master of Arts in Sociology from New Mexico State University. She is an evaluator for the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate Program.

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Ricardo Jacquez New Mexico State University

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Lauren Ketcham New Mexico State University

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Lauren Ketcham received an MA in Sociology and Public Administration from New Mexico State University in 2005. She has worked as a program evaluator for NMSU's Alliance for Minority Participation's Bridge to the Doctorate program. Ketcham now works as an Environmental Advocate for the New Mexico Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

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Karen Luces New Mexico State University

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Contextual Factors Affecting Graduate Student Mentoring

Lisa M. Frehill1, Amanda Lain2, Ricardo Jacquez3, Karen Luces3, and Lauren Ketcham4 1 Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology/2Lain Evaluation Research/3New Mexico State University / 4New Mexico Public Interest Research Group

Abstract—The numbers of students pursuing graduate education at the master’s level has increased nearly four-fold since 1966. In engineering, the number climbed from 13,705 masters degrees and 2,301 doctoral degrees awarded in 1966 to 33,872 masters and 5,776 doctoral degrees awarded in 2004[2]. Women and under-represented minorities’ (URM) share of engineering doctoral degrees have increased but members of these groups are still underrepresented at the doctoral level. This paper uses draw evidence about 24 faculty members’ retrospective views of mentoring experiences from semi-structured qualitative interviews. Case study analysis of data about 24 URM student participants in a targeted program that seeks to increase the number of minorities who receive Ph.D.s in engineering provide information about recent graduates’ mentoring experiences. The paper discusses findings and suggestions for how engineering faculty can provide high-quality mentoring to students within the larger social context of demographic change in graduate-level engineering education.

Introduction The numbers of students pursuing graduate education at the master’s level has increased nearly four-fold since 1966. In engineering, the number climbed from 13,705 master’s degrees and 2,301 doctoral degrees awarded in 1966 to 33,872 master’s and 5,776 doctoral degrees awarded in 2004[2]. While temporary residents’ share of doctoral degrees in engineering has increased dramatically (in 2004 temporary residents accounted for 57% of engineering Ph.D.s), women and under-represented minorities’ (URM) share of engineering doctoral degrees also increased: women earned 17.6% while URMs earned 3.2% of engineering Ph.Ds. Data showing the increasing diversity of U.S. master’s and doctoral recipients of engineering degrees are shown in Table 1.

As shown by the data presented in Table 1, graduate education in engineering has undergone substantial structural changes: the numbers of degrees earned per year has increased while the diversity of students has undergone dramatic changes over the past 25-30 years. This increasing diversity poses special challenges for faculty who may need to moderate conflicts among groups of students with various demographic characteristics. Furthermore, engineering faculty have experienced pressure to generate more funds via grants and contracts and time demands have become increasingly acute for engineering faculty.

The role of the faculty advisor in graduate school is more expansive: rather than merely assisting the student in maintaining her or his sequence of classes towards graduation, the graduate advisor ideally serves more as a “mentor” with both the instrumental function of advisement as well as the psychosocial functions in what is often described as more “family-like” relationship. Additionally, graduate education is meant to provide students with an opportunity to learn first-

Frehill, L., & Lain, A., & Jacquez, R., & Ketcham, L., & Luces, K. (2007, June), Contextual Factors Affecting Graduate Student Mentoring Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2349

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