FACULTY OF COLOR MENTORSHIP PROGRAM was established to improve overall retention of faculty members from historically underrepresented minorities, a population vital to the HSC’s mission to meet the health needs of all New Mexicans.
The program’s mission is to develop both junior and senior faculty through research, training, and mentoring of individuals in the health sciences in order to enhance public health while also focusing on faculty of color and other New Mexican residents.
Achieving Institutional Mentoring Excellence (A.I.M.E) Faculty of Color Mentorship Pilot Project
This Advancing Institutional Mentoring Excellence (AIME) Pilot Research Project represents the Chancellor’s commitment to enhance the overall institutional capacity for mentoring. The rationale for AIME is to advance the educational, clinical, research and community benefits that flow from having a diverse faculty involved in the HSC’s core mission of providing excellent education, research, clinical practice, and community service to the state of New Mexico.
The goal of the study is to recognize and further the benefits of cognitive diversity as it pertains to URM faculty choices and career success. Cognitive diversity refers to the idea that people with different training, education, experiences, and identities think differently and, when working effectively together, can enhance complex decision-making and make more accurate predictions.
A.I.M.E. seeks to develop more effective faculty interactions and collaborations among both mentees and mentors by facilitating discussions about the psychosocial dimensions of academic life including identity, implicit bias, career decision-making, cross-cultural communication, and other related professional development topics with an emphasis on the promotion and tenure system. AIME will incorporate surveys, focus groups, and frequent mentoring experiences over 10 months, combining web-based applications with direct face-to-face services. The utility of the web-based application, Insala, will also be assessed for its usefulness in an academic mentoring program.
The HSC has invested considerable time and resources in creating a highly diverse faculty workforce. In its first phase, this mentoring project focuses on faculty of color. Based upon lessons learned from this pilot, AIME will then be expanded over time to include the full faculty. We aim to increase the institution’s overall capacity in managing and cultivating the range of talent and ability represented by this diverse faculty. The pilot project’s method: The process is the product.
The method we are employing is to facilitate conversations among the participants in various venues to help mentees become more aware of the P&T process and procedures and more intentional in their career planning with a view toward different types of academic leadership and success. We have identified some crosscutting themes to further facilitate these conversations in order to make the climate more inclusive, to cultivate the full potential of faculty of color, and to lower structural and interpersonal barriers. These crosscutting themes are 1) racial/ethnic identity and cognitive diversity (the idea that social diversity makes us collectively smarter), 2) implicit bias, 3) faculty agency and career decision-making, and 4) cross-cultural communication.
This pilot project will use pre and post tests with both mentors and mentees to evaluate whether there is greater satisfaction and more awareness of an institutional commitment to mentoring, enhanced understanding about promotion and tenure, greater understanding about identity and unconscious bias, and enhanced cross-cultural communication skills.
Mentees will provide an ongoing evaluation, with a narrative technique called the Most Significant Change; mentors will also be invited to do so.