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Normalizing Struggle: Effective Mentoring for Doctoral Students

Monday, November 11, 2019 -
12:30pm to 1:45pm
Clark Center Auditorium

This WISE Research Roundtable is one in a series of discussions with those whose research illuminates paths to advance equity in scientific and technical fields.

Faculty mentoring is a durable structure within doctoral education that facilitates intellectual growth, professional socialization, and progressive independence. This presentation will share findings from research focused on PhD students from marginalized backgrounds in science and engineering programs that, though located in top research universities, enrolled significantly higher shares of women or students of color than are found on average in those disciplines. Posselt finds clear patterns in how students conceptualize faculty support, associated with specific mentoring tactics that contributed to their persistence and well-being. Cutting across these patterns are efforts to humanize doctoral education and normalize struggle and even failure by promoting a growth mindset, by validating student competence and potential, and by opening discussion about racialized and gendered dynamics in academic settings. Active discussion will follow the presentation.

About the speaker: Julie Posselt is Associate Professor of Education at the University of Southern California. Her research examines organizational behavior affecting access to and equity in selective sectors of higher education, especially graduate education, research universities, STEM fields, and the professoriate. Her work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Spencer Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and National Science Foundation. She is presently Principal Investigator for five NSF grants, including the California Consortium for Inclusive Doctoral Education and the Inclusive Graduate Education Network Research Hub. She was a National Academy of Education/ Spencer postdoctoral fellow from 2015-2017, and today is a member of two current National Academies consensus studies. In 2017, Posselt was honored with the Association for the Study of Higher Education’s Early Career/ Promising Scholar award, and in 2018 received the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award. She is the author of Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping (Harvard University Press, 2016), an award-winning ethnographic comparative study of faculty decisionmaking in doctoral admissions. Her research is also published in the American Educational Research Journal, Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Higher Education. Her forthcoming book, Equity in Science: Representation, Culture, and the Dynamics of Change in Graduate Education, will be published in Spring 2020 by Stanford University Press.

WISE Ventures, an initiative in support of more inclusive academic communities, particularly in science, engineering, and mathematics at Stanford, is sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development and the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. 

To attend, please register here. (Please note that food and drink may not be brought into the Clark Center Auditorium.)

Event Sponsor: 
WISE Ventures, Office of Faculty Development, Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, and Bio-X.
Contact Phone: 
650.725.4747
Contact Email: 
cbmuller@stanford.edu