Providing social support for underrepresented racial and ethnic minority phd students in the biomedical sciences:a career coaching model


Improvement in the proportion of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities (URMs) in academic positions has been unsatisfactory. Although this is a complex problem, one key issue is that graduate students often rely on research mentors for career-related support, the effectiveness of which can be variable. We present results from a novel academic career “coaching” intervention, one aim of which was to provide supplementary social support for PhD students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. Coaching was de­livered both within small groups and on an individual basis, with a diverse group of coach­es and students coming from many universities. Coaches were provided with additional diversity training. Ninety-six semistructured interviews with 33 URM students over 3 years were analyzed using a qualitative framework approach. For most of the URM PhD students, coaching provided social support in the form of emotional, informational, and appraisal support. Coaching groups provided a noncompetitive environment and “community of support” within which students were able to learn from one another’s experiences and discuss negative and stressful experiences related to their graduate school, lab, or career plans. This coached peer group model is capable of providing the social support that many URM students do not find at their home universities.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC)
Additional Information: © 2017 S. N. Williams et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2017 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( Funding: NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award to Promote Diversity in the Scientific Workforce, “Translating Theory to Practice to Diversify the Biomedical Research Community,” DP4 GM096807 (ARRA), and the following NIH grants: R01 GM085385, R01 GM085385-02S1 (ARRA), R01 NR011987, R01 GM107701, and 1R35GM118184-01.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education,Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
Publication ISSN: 1931-7913
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 07:24
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2017 11:55
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-12-01
Published Online Date: 2017-12-01
Accepted Date: 2017-09-11
Submitted Date: 2017-01-30
Authors: Williams, Simon N.
Thakore, Bhoomi K.
McGee, Richard

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