1. Paola Bandini
  2. https://ce.nmsu.edu/faculty-and-staff/rank/dr-paola-bandini-p-e/
  3. Wells-Hatch Professor
  4. Increasing the success of low-income, academically talented students in engineering
  5. New Mexico State University
  1. Martha Mitchell
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/martha-mitchell-45a69a8?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base_contact_details%3B47Y2OZVZQjGVDV2ISgEeAw%3D%3D
  3. Professor
  4. Increasing the success of low-income, academically talented students in engineering
  5. New Mexico State University
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Meagen Pollock

    Meagen Pollock

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2022 | 10:55 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing. Are your mentoring materials available? I'm curious as to how you encouraged faculty to participate in mentoring that was not connected to a research experience.

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 12:09 p.m.

    Thank you very much for your comments. If you would like to email me at martmitc@nmsu.edu I can share the documents with you. The way we encouraged faculty to participate is by asking individually. Since our college is not large (approximately 70 faculty) Dr. Bandini and I know many of the faculty personally. Many of the faculty are very committed to mentoring. Quite a few have participated in the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). We also explained to each faculty member the different kind of commitment (non-research) this program entailed. Once a faculty member participated in the S-STEM program they were almost always willing to do so again.

  • Icon for: Jayashree Balakrishna

    Jayashree Balakrishna

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2022 | 11:32 a.m.

    I think faculty-student mentoring is so important, creating campus connections between students and faculty. Students stay focussed and feel positive about themselves and make career goals.

    Inter-disciplinary mentorship was a strong component of our Grant as we had a cohort of students engaged in on-campus academic activities with faculty and. each other. We added a research component after. two years of the grant. We had faculty development workshops that included students and having teachers and students learning together helped students feel more comfortable around faculty. This made them feel comfortable comfortable coming to faculty for help with academic and other issues.

     Your project helped students develop career goals and feel comfortable and confident. I think having study-skills workshops is a great idea. Thanks for sharing

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 12:17 p.m.

    Thank you very much for your comments. I enjoyed learning more about your program by watching your video. It is interesting that your program had interdisciplinary mentorship. All of our mentors came from the College of Engineering, although not all pairings were within the student's major. You make great points about the importance of campus connections and that interactions with faculty make the students more comfortable.

    It is interesting that you added a research component after two years of the grant. What was the motivation for that change?

  • Icon for: Jayashree Balakrishna

    Jayashree Balakrishna

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2022 | 02:23 p.m.

    Hi Martha,

    our Grant was from the department of education.in the third year of the grant they allowed us to apply for a supplemental grant to increase research capacity at our institution and were one of the awardees. 

    Thanks again.

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 04:04 p.m.

    Thank you!

  • Icon for: Scott Pattison

    Scott Pattison

    Facilitator
    Research Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 03:34 p.m.

    Thanks so much for sharing your project. Like others, I'm curious to hear more about the mentorship relationships. Do you have a sense of the components that supported successful connections? And similarly, what challenges arose between mentors and mentees. Thanks again!

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 04:11 p.m.

    Hello, Scott. We've surveyed the students and the faculty about the positive aspects of the program. Each faculty/student pairing is unique, so the answers vary. However, there are themes about the students feeling supported by and connected to the faculty member. This is mentioned more than the academic and career advice. Also, mentors discuss how helping the students had great value for the mentors. Having a formal mentor-student agreement also helped with accountability. The agreement includes goals for the semester and times to meet that are set for the entire semester.

    The biggest challenges have been 1) the faculty or the student cancelling meetings because they thought they were too busy, 2) some faculty not being very comfortable with mentoring that focused on something other than a research project or 3) faculty wanting to have a very informal, drop in if you want to, mentoring relationship. 

  • Icon for: Scott Pattison

    Scott Pattison

    Facilitator
    Research Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 06:18 p.m.

    Thanks so much, Martha. This is really interesting. In terms of the last challenge, it sounds like some faculty wanted an informal relationship but students needed or wanted more structure?

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2022 | 07:48 p.m.

    Sometimes faculty would turn us down to be mentors because they wanted a more informal, drop-in kind of mentoring. They didn't like the formal agreement with goals and set meeting times. In my experience with other mentoring programs on campus, it seemed important to have the formal structure in order to create accountability (particularly with times to meet so that they had the meetings in their calendar). We didn't specify how formal the goals had to be, and some pairs had much more open-ended goals than others, but we did require the pairs to submit a signed agreement. I don't think the students ever expressed that they wanted more structure, but they were frustrated when the faculty would cancel the meetings. 

  • Icon for: Amy Wilson-Lopez

    Amy Wilson-Lopez

    Facilitator
    Associate Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 05:01 p.m.

    Thank you for this video--and more importantly, for your work in mentoring students! I especially appreciated the videos in which students were able to share their experiences with the mentoring program in their own words. I also appreciated how you modified your approach to be responsive to the shifting needs of students and faculty in light of the pandemic. While I watched this video, I wondered about the hoped-for trajectories of the students. For example, did some want to go into industry, academia, governmental organizations, etc.? And if so, was the mentoring program able to accommodate those different trajectories? How might mentorship look different for students who have different career aspirations? Thanks again for your video and for the opportunity to learn more about your program.

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 07:53 p.m.

    Thank you for your comments.

    We would learn about the students’ hoped-for trajectories through the process of the goals students would set each semester with their mentors. We strived to offer information about different options and to tailor the rest of the experience to their goals. 

    There were several ways we worked on addressing different career trajectories. The students had aspirations to join different sectors: many to industry, quite a few to graduate school, and a few to governmental organizations, particularly national laboratories. For students trying to decide between industry and grad school we paired them with faculty who had industry experience. Since there were not a large number of those faculty, we used the cohort professional development meetings to bring in outside speakers to talk about their experiences and their trajectories. We also connected students to professionals we knew who could give them insights into different paths. After some of the scholars graduated we had the graduates meet with the students and talk about their experiences after graduation. I was paired with one student whose long-term goal was working at a national laboratory. Many of her mentoring goals were related to understanding the best path forward. She decided to enter an MS program that will be beneficial for her ultimate position in the national laboratory.

     

  • Icon for: Amy Wilson-Lopez

    Amy Wilson-Lopez

    Facilitator
    Associate Professor
    May 13, 2022 | 05:46 p.m.

    Love this use of cohorts and the individualized attention! Thank you for this response.

  • Icon for: Lizzy Cowan

    Lizzy Cowan

    Researcher
    May 11, 2022 | 12:29 p.m.

    I find this idea of faculty-student mentorship very interesting! Most programs I see are student-student or student-industry mentorships. I was wondering how it has evolved over time since it was started in 2016. How does the initial year compare to the current program?

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 01:07 p.m.

    I'm glad to hear that you find faculty-student mentoring to be interesting. There are several differences between the initial year and the current program:

    1. Types of goals: In the initial year, students in the cohort were almost all sophomores. The goals they set and the discussions with the faculty were heavily focused on academic issues as well as career exploration. This year the students were all within a semester of graduation. Their goals were very different, focusing on the transition to their next steps (industry, academia, etc.).
    2. Training: In the initial year we had very little training for the mentors. The mentors requested training, and we implemented more extensive training focused on mentoring undergraduate students. We found over the years that one of the best ways to support the mentors was by having a mentor round table discussion. They shared questions, concerns, and best practices with each other. The interactions among mentors made the mentors feel much more confident in the program. 
    3. Check-ins: We started out with a mid-term and end of term survey of the students and mentors. We still do that, but we also make sure to check in with each mentoring pair earlier in the term to make sure they are meeting and that no issues have arisen. This has been important so that we don't have to wait to find out about issues until mid-term checkin. 
  • Icon for: Nidaa Makki

    Nidaa Makki

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 12, 2022 | 09:36 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your work and advancing the discussion on mentoring students. I also appreciated hearing from students about their experiences in the program! 

    I am curious to learn more about the workshop on metacognition-based study skills. This is a very important aspect of supporting students' success. Can you share a little bit about the framework that guided this work and the focus of the workshop? You also mentioned that an instrument was developed to measure self-evaluation of study skills. Can you share more about your findings about how student's study skills were impacted? 

    I am also wondering how can this model be scaled beyond the S-STEM project. Have you found in your work that that implementing this model within the project impacted how faculty approached mentoring students in general? 

    Very interesting work! 

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2022 | 04:11 p.m.

    Thank you, Nidaa.

    The meta-cognition study skills workshops allowed the students to reflect on their study skills, to learn about skills that have been proven to be successful, reflect on what skills they have implemented, and commit to what skills they plan to implement. The questionnaire is administered multiple times so that the students have the opportunity to continue to reflect and the researchers have data over multiple semesters. 

    The SESSI instrument is not posted online at this time, but anyone can have a copy and use it by contacting our co-Principal Investigator, Muhammed Dawood dawood@nmsu.edu. SESSI is was developed in another NSF grant (PI: Dawood). Dr. Dawood has information on the impact on student study skills, both for our students and in studies performed as part of other projects. 

    In terms of scaling, we are implementing group mentoring in another S-STEM grant with the College of Engineering and Dona Ana Community College. Group mentoring, with one faculty member and multiple students, is a good way to scale. We've found that the students benefit not only from the mentor but also from the interactions among the students.

    The faculty report benefits to getting to know students outside the classroom. While they have many opportunities to interact with students, this structured mentoring program allowed faculty to develop a relationship with students beyond what would happen in class, in informal mentoring, or even in an undergraduate research project. The faculty report satisfaction with the program because they see how they can support students to be successful. 

     

  • Icon for: Nidaa Makki

    Nidaa Makki

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 15, 2022 | 09:05 p.m.

    I like how you addressed the impact of mentoring on the mentors. This is an area that would be interesting to share broadly to encourage more faculty to participate. 

    Thank you for providing a contact for the SESSI instrument! 

  • May 13, 2022 | 03:55 p.m.

    This was a great video. Very interesting approach to improve the college experience of students and keep them on track. Mentoring is an important component but I also find the other activities interesting. Is working on research expected to happen among some of these student-faculty interactions? Great work!

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 13, 2022 | 06:30 p.m.

    Thank you, Hilda. In this specific project research was not a component. However, many of the faculty guided the students to potential research opportunities, including work in their own groups or in colleague's group, as well as programs at NMSU such as NM AMP and MARC.

  • May 17, 2022 | 02:36 p.m.

    Really nice work and very valuable! I have found that mentoring is crucial for helping a student identify with the engineering major. Mentoring groups of students is very valuable as well as I have found that the students to make friends and really support one another. It also helps them to stick around after class and discuss their great ideas!! We have done this informally but a more formal format would be even more beneficial. Thank you for providing resource for this!

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 17, 2022 | 05:07 p.m.

    Thank you Christine!

  • May 17, 2022 | 02:37 p.m.

    I like the idea of a mentor round table discussion. What have you seen as the most valuable aspect of that? 

  • Icon for: Martha Mitchell

    Martha Mitchell

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 17, 2022 | 05:15 p.m.

    The most valuable aspect of the round table discussions was having mentors describe challenges that they faced and to have discussions about potential strategies to address these challenges. The biggest issue was the open-ended nature of the goal setting and student/faculty discussions. Some students had a hard time initiating questions and coming up with discussion topics. Faculty shared what they had done to encourage the students to be the "drivers" in the process.

    Other round-table discussions were focused around the how to be a mentor in this program. The program had structure with formal agreements and set times to meet. However, some faculty wanted more training on how to be a mentor, particularly since there wasn't a research topic on which to focus. The faculty who had mentored before were a valuable resource.

  • May 17, 2022 | 05:17 p.m.

    Thanks so much for the valuable information Martha!

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