Decolonising Research Series: How a Predominantly White Faculty Can Empower Ethnic Minority Students
Sep 16th, 2022
This series of podcast episodes will focus on Decolonising Research, and feature talks from the Decolonising Research Festival held at the University of Exeter in June and July 2022.
The twelth epsiode of the series will feature Dr. Musarrat Maisha Reza from the University of Exeter and her talk 'How a predominantly white faculty can empower ethnic minority students.'
Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Hello, and welcome to rd in the in betweens. I'm your host, Kelly Preece. And every fortnight I talk to a different guest, about researchers development, and everything in between.
So, hello, everyone, thank you so much for coming for this session. I am Dr. Marcia Raisa, and I'm a senior lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the College of Medicine and Health, I also hold the position of the race equality resource officer. So I'm going to use both my experiences to you know, discuss the topic today, which is how a predominantly white faculty can empower beam students. Now being students, basically black Asian minority ethnic students, I'm not really going to use this term moving forward, I will just say, ethnic minority students, because, you know, this is not the favorite term anymore. So I'm going to stick to specifically talking about the role of advising and mentorship, because we know that we do have a predominantly white faculty, and we do have a lot of ethnic minority students, which is quite disproportionate, especially within the medicine and medical sciences curriculum, compared to the kind of ethnic minority faculty that we have. But that doesn't mean that we should deprive our ethnic minority students of mentorship that they deserve, just because the demographics don't align specifically. So how do I become an ally? This is something that is a very interesting conversation that goes on, where white individuals are always wondering how do I become an ally. But before that, we need to start thinking about self work and critical reflection. So this whenever I have this conversation, it seems like a very up in the air kind of conversation, oh, we need to do self work and critical reflection. But I think it is not sufficiently emphasized on how important this work is, before we actually, you know, self work and critical reflection is going to take us a lifelong journey of learning and reflection. But without engaging in this process, trying to mentor and be at or be an ally, to different marginalized groups can actually be more harmful than beneficial. So in this process of self work and critical reflection, I believe it's really important to discover our unconscious biases that shape our decision making and shape our thought process on a regular basis. And what kind of active measures and resistance to these unconscious bias do we need to engage in? This section will not be the main topic of my conversation, I just want to touch on it briefly before I go into the actual mentorship process. So what's an ally? An ally is any person that actively promotes and aspires to advance the culture of inclusion through intentional positive and conscious efforts that benefit people as a whole, or benefit the marginalized communities that we are, we claim to be allies off? Now how do we become an ally, very, very superficial. And simply we can just be an anyone can be an ally, anyone has the capacity and capability of being an ally, regardless of their ethnicity, and you don't have to be a member of a specific marginalized group to support them. So what is really required is the conscious and active effort that is required to better understand the obstacles faced by the members of these marginalized groups. And allies are really important because often they are in positions of more privilege, then members within the marginalized group. So they are powerful voices alongside marginalized ones.
Now, moving quickly into conscious, being conscious of our unconscious bias. So in terms of unconscious bias, what it's a term that is regularly contested as well, and it's something that also puts people on a bit of a defense where they don't let if they support a certain group, there's a resistance to accept that there is unconscious bias in all of us actually. So our privileges, many of us fall into different spectrums of privilege, and our privileges, it blinds us from the negative experience of marginalized groups. So I have different intersectionalities as a person that makes me who I am that confers upon me certain privileges or disadvantages in society. Now, given the privileges that I have, it is natural for me to be blind. To the experiences that I do not go through in terms of, you know, negative experiences, but that doesn't excuse us from not being aware. So bias is an inevitable as a result of social conditioning and cognitive processes. But it is not evidence or accusations of prejudice. So contrary to our conscious intentions, we all hold hidden biases that manifest in subtle or unconscious ways. And sometimes it can actually manifest in dangerous ways as well. So it's important that we are aware of them, or we may be creating more harm than good for marginalized groups we support. So I'm just going to stop sharing my screen for one second, so that I can close all my tabs, so we don't disturb the rest of the meeting. My apologies. Alright, so we'll go back to this. All right. So thank you. Now, what can I do? These are some of the in my previous talks, where I focused specifically on unconscious bias and, you know, set
up, sorry, so. So what can I do to counter unconscious biases? These are just some recommendations that I've suggested. But they're not again, I'm not going to go deep into this one. Because this was what I covered in like my previous talks on, you know, self worth and critical reflection, and how do we go about that journey. In previous talks, I also spoke about how I went on my specific journey to, you know, to discover my unconscious biases, and actually start working on them. So that was a lot more comfortable, because I was using myself as an example. So that kind of puts people a little bit at ease. So in terms of my recommendations I made for firstly, being aware of differences in different candidates that we're, you know, we're involved in, a lot of us are academics, a lot of us are in positions of power and leadership positions. We have times where we engage with candidates, with students, with individuals who rely on us for decision making. So it's important that we are aware of those differences in different individuals and ourselves. And acknowledging that we all have bias, even when we do not realize that I think this is this is really important, because the biggest step is to acknowledge it is the lack of acknowledgement, that actually puts a lot of people on the defense. And the third recommendation I'd make would be to actively resist inappropriate advocacy and unreasoned judgment that this person, for example, is not suitable for this position because we are coming from a space of a bias or stereotype. So we don't think that they're capable because of certain gender or certain ethnicity. And lastly, and quite importantly, getting involved in reflective activities to continuously work on unconscious biases. It is a learning process, it is something that everyone has, it is also something that helps us navigate our world. So we're not suggesting that you don't have biases anymore. We're suggesting that you actively engage with your bias so that you know that it does not disadvantage someone who's relying upon you for your decisions. Right. Now, moving forward from this section of self worth, and critical reflection, which is really important to engage with, while and before we get into engagement with ethnic minority students as mentors or allies or advisors. So under this engagement with ethnic minority students, today, I will speak a lot about empathy and vulnerability, which is really important to express because we, we don't have to know everything. I think it is important for us to be vulnerable and know that we don't know everything we are learning. And I'll show you examples on how that honesty and that transparency about where we are on our journey can be really helpful and can gain the interest of students who are different from us. And I would also be talking about some of the positive action and active support that we can provide to our students. So the main flow of my talk would be understanding firstly, the distinction between role models and mentors. Then I'll go into a bit more discussion on a certain publication, which talks about cross race mentoring. And finally, I'll end off with a recording of personal experience of an ethnic minority student who very kindly recorded that for me, and it is very telling and quite aligned with the kind of theory that has been established through this publication.
So firstly, let's have a look at what Role Models versus mentors are, they're both significant, and they can't be overlooked in terms of their difference, it is important to establish that. So let's look first at what a role models. A role model is someone who we can look up to be inspired by, we admire with an aspiration to emulate their life or behavior, they don't need to be known. So the the role model does not need to know me or I don't need to know the role model, it could be a very silent relationship where we just watch them from afar and want to be like them. And role models usually provide an inspiration from afar. Rather than direct advice and support, it could go into advice and support as well. But this is usually someone you look from afar. Sometimes celebrities, sometimes Nobel Prize winners, it's a one way relationship largely. Mentors, on the other hand, they engage in long term relationships. And they are focused on supporting the growth and development of their mentees by sharing the wealth of experience they have. So mentors are usually on some sort of similar career trajectory, or some kind of space that you connect with in your life and you feel like their experiences can help you. So a mentor is a lot more invested. They ensure and guide their mentees to make informed decisions regarding personal and professional development. And as I said, that relationship happens to be a lot more personal, and there is significant trust that is built between them. So both parties usually agree to that mentorship making this a two way relationship. Now, just some statistics that I found very interesting 87% of UK staff within higher education, they reported that there is a lack of role models from ethnic minority backgrounds and teaching practices. And that is one that has been attributing to work that has been one of the main factors leading to the awarding gap between white and ethnic minority students within higher education. And this was reported by The Times Higher Education survey. So just again, because I am from the College of Medicine health, I would give you a few examples from medicine as well. There is an overall 14% degree awarding gap among medical students within the UK 78% of students within the UK also held similar views on the main reason for the attainment gap. This is directly from the report of the National Union of Students, I want to also highlight that we are changing that attainment gap term, two awarding gap which is a lot more which puts a lot more responsibility on the institution. Because when we use that attainment gap, we kind of put that responsibility of poor achievement to the students or the individuals who are not, you know who are falling in that gap. So an awarding gap puts them takes that deficit model away. But this is a quotation from the NUS UK report. So they cite lack of diverse senior leaders as one of the main factors of the awarding gap. So role models in academia can create that sense of belonging for students who tend to report the imposter syndrome where they feel like they may not belong in that space. 1.3% of ethnic minority students choose to do a PhD, almost half of their white counterparts, which is two point by 2.4%. And that was reported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Now, role models and mentorships do go hand in hand. And we need to improve diversity in both student and faculty leadership to increase the role models for our students. And today we focus on tools to empower our existing ethnic minority students with resources we have through mentorship, which is basically parallel ongoing work. Now benefits of mentorship would be basically when student and faculty engage in mentoring programs, it has significant benefits to students, especially those that are considered to be at at risk because of academic difficulties. Some of the benefits, these are quite common benefits that we already I think we've all heard of it. It improves self efficacy. There's increased academic scores to help eliminate the degree awarding awarding gap that we have found in literature that students end up completing more credit units, there is a reduced rate of dropouts, increased graduation, more opportunities for growth, and also higher enrollment in graduate programs. And you know, students actually following through with careers in academia. So cross race mentoring, this is the second part of the talk. We're going to look at a case Study, which talks about highly successful versus the least successful mentorship. And the main important reason for why I even talk about this is because in Exeter 88% of our students who are accepted are, you know, is white. And a majority of academics within Russell Group universities are also white. So 86% are white, you have 6%, who's Indian and South Asian 6%, who has Chinese and East Asian, mixed and black are 1%, an Arabic 0.4%. So largely majority of our academics are also white, you know, that kind of puts our ethnic minority students in a position where they are really a minority, where, you know, their counterparts are largely white. And they're the academics that they look up to are also largely white. So discussions with academics in general, one of the quotes that I'm going to make here is something that stayed with me, one of the white colleagues said, I am a white faculty member, it is not my place to mentor, an ethnic minority student, I do not share their lived experiences, and they will not be able to relate. And I cannot help that. So there is this apprehension that they are not qualified or they're not suitable to be a mentor for ethnic minority students. And so they sort of shy away from that role and responsibility, because they don't feel that they can help. Now, there are in again, in literature, there are two sides of the argument for cross race mentorships, some of the concerns raised were that white mentors tend to promote their own racial views, and encourage their mentees to assimilate into the white mainstream. And that largely stems from the unconscious bias where they say things like, you know, you need to, you know, try and integrate better, you need to do better with making friends and you need to do, you just need to try and assimilate with, you know, with the population, if you want to be if you want to feel included. And that's a problem. If we go on to the next one, a lot of academics also want to avoid difficult conversations about racial issues, they don't acknowledge that racial differences, one of the very problematic terms that that that tends to get used as colorblindness, where they say I don't see color, so it doesn't even matter when that is something that can be really, really harmful. So there is a tendency to downplay the significance of race, though it could be central not could be the it is actually central to the lived experiences of their mentees or their tutees. And often, this stems from a huge discomfort that mentors have been discussing race giving, and they tried to give the impression that racial discrimination is not that important, or race is not important. So we don't want to use that or bring that in the into the conversation. There is a positive side to this where you know provenance of this cross race mentorship actually explain why it's needed.
There are obviously as I showed you, in some steps, just now currently, a lot more people of color who are in need of mentors, then there are minority mentors. So that should not deprive ethnic minority students of mentors. So waiting for some foreseen race match can result in valuable time lost for the for the mentees. There are also practices that can help individuals overcome the obstacles of different lived experiences. For instance, it is important to select mentors who promote their mentees cultural and ethnic identity, who remain cognizant of the lived experiences of minorities. The mentorship gap for ethnic minority students why, as I said, Why white mentors tend to shy away from the mentoring from mentoring their mentees of different ethnicities, because largely they feel that it is not their place. And because of the different lived experience, there can't be a relatability. So some of some research stresses on same race mentoring, and others highlight the resulting dearth of mentors and therefore leaving ethnic minority students with no mentors, there is evidence for contact hypothesis, which which discusses the theory that frequent intergroup contact between equal status members under appropriate conditions meaning like under friendly, hospitable conditions, can I Truly reduce prejudice between majority and minority groups. There are I first personally who really struggled to find studies and analysis of, you know how successful crossways mentorship could be. But I did find one very interesting study. And it was a very, it was a thesis, which really had some some lessons that I think we can learn and implement. So this mentorship program, it was the New Horizons mentorship program that was a program from the Portland State University. It happened in 2013. The study group was basically white faculty members with black and Latino first generation community college students in a formal mentoring program in higher education. So there was this mentorship program went on for three months, and six of the mentor pairs or trios were interviewed. So the aim of this entire project in this university was to understand the perceptions of white adult mentors, and black and Latino mentees of their activities, interactions, and their views on the advantages and drawbacks of their cross race mentoring relationship. So I'm going to set out a few definitions these definitions are from, they're all summarized from this thesis, when they define it to be successful. It describes that both the mentor and the mentee describe their experiences as positive that the relationship involves a close interpersonal bond, there was high level of agreement between the mentoring partners, and both mentors and mentees identify personal and our professional gains or growth during the interview. Sorry, give me one second, let me close my teams as well, this is.
Okay, my apologies. Let me continue, I have too many tabs open that I think I really need to start closing. So in terms of the low to no success, low to no success, mentorship experience, the participants explicitly describe their experience and partnership in a negative manner. There was very little or negligible relationship that developed between the mentor and the mentee. And mentors and mentees did not discuss anything beyond their research projects, or, or mentees were not even engaged in the research task. So this was classified as low to no success versus successful. So in this entire study, three themes emerge from their from from their entire project. And they've classified it as expectations and perception, the mentoring relationship and the racial component. So for each of these themes, I will give you some examples, a quotation for both successful and non successful relationships under each of the categories. So I think that will give us a very good understanding of, you know, how these mentors and mentees really felt. So in terms of expectations and perceptions, that was defined as mentors motivations and expectations in the program, and the mentor mentee understanding of their relationship and how they describe each other. So in a successful mentoring relationship, the mentor this mentors decision to participate in this project centered on providing mentees with opportunities to advance the mentees educational and career aspirations. They also had raised awareness and highlighted the importance of mentoring students from underrepresented and minority groups in higher education. There was a primary focus on mentees growth and progression towards their academic goals, rather than the mentors own research agenda. That is not withstanding that, of course, that these students were engaged in research, you know, mutually agreed research projects, but there was a lot of focus on what exactly the mentee wants to achieve from it. There is also mutual liking for each other, which helped them develop a personal relationship. And some of the mentees expressed that, you know, despite things being successful there, in the beginning, they still found that race class educational differences, and awareness of the kind of implicit racial attitudes, their white mentors might have created a bit of tense and uneasy feelings for them. So to illustrate that I took one of the courts, which said a black male mentee said the first few meetings I was just like, wow, just the dynamics, you know, an older white woman We have our perceptions about older white women and how they see black men. So it has probably played on me more than it played on them. So it was just like all these emotions, like, Okay, well, I'm in this position, I got to step up show that I'm worthy. So this was one of the comments, the black male mentee made in the beginning, which of course, transformed moving forward in that mentoring relationship. Whereas in a low to no success mentoring relationship, the mentor mentees that were interviewed, the theme that emerged was that mentors had very different motivations for joining this program, because they wanted to get help for their own research and work more than, you know, understanding the mentees career goals or aspirations. And often these mentees were considered a pair of eyes or a pair of hands. And their goals were not given similar consideration. So there was a mich mismatch of their expectations. And that led to a difficulty in the bonding between the mentor and mentees. And you know, there's a difference in personality, there's lack of common interest. So there was little to no mutual liking, and no vision towards that common goal. So mentees often describe that mentorship as like a job, they often felt judged, and they did not feel mentored at all. So one of the mentors, a white mentor, who was a part of this program said, I was kind of at the point where I was working on my research. And that was really the priority for me. I was thankful Jared was able to give me some help. But also I wasn't too concerned about you know, do we like each other.
Now, let's move on to the second aspect of this theme from this project, which they classified as the mentoring relationship. So the mentoring relationship talks about the overview on the amount of time mentor spent with the mentees and how mentees perceive this experience as contributing to their academic and career goals. So let's look at the successful relationship first. In successful relationships, there was frequent contact with one another, apparently, it was at least once, two thrice a week during the mentorship period, there were opportunities for mentees to expand their social network within the university and community through the mentors network, of course. Them mentees gain a clearer perspective on their academic goals and enhance their personal development. They didn't feel like they were in an employer employee relationship, they really felt like this was more of a friendship. And the tools and support provided really helped to advance the specific skill sets that they aim to advance. And mostly, the mentees talked about equal status relationship where it was more collaborative, and they were working towards shared goals. And both their goals were considered important. So they didn't feel that power hierarchy. That was they're in a non successful mentoring relationship. So the work that they were assigned, was aligned to their career aspirations. So one thing that they did highlight was that equal status is difficult to achieve, especially when you have faculty versus first generation undergrads, that could really lead to a clear hierarchy, which was quite evident for the non successful mentoring relationship. And that gap became becomes more pronounced for ethnic minority mentees. And that often leads to that imposter syndrome. Now, one of the mentees said that the mentor had me talk to different people so I could get a greater perspective of what I want to do. I felt like that was a really good thing. I never felt at any point throughout the whole process that it was just about getting my work done for her. I felt like she wanted me to learn something about what I want to do as well. So that was a really nice quote from the mentee. Now let's look at the unsuccessful one. In an unsuccessful mentoring relationship, there were no clear definitions of the mentor and mentee role, the mentee was largely unclear about what was expected of them. Now, the mismatch of mentor mentee expectations resulted in poor mutual liking. And there was also a mismatch of personality and interest. So the mentor did not really work together with the mentee to achieve the mentees academic goals, and build that entire mentorship program around their own research agenda, rather than working on shared goals. And the mentee also did not perceive the mentor accordingly, but saw the mentorship as an opportunity to gain job experience. So it became automatically this employer employee relationship rather than a collaborative one. Now, one of the mentees said I felt like I didn't get as much For me being where I am in my life and my career, I didn't feel that I got as much out of it as somebody without a career and knowledge base would have got, I think I would have chosen a different research project for myself, I didn't get to hone in on my skills, I got to kill time.
So the third component, which is the racial component, which is which I personally found the most interesting, and in successful mentoring relationships, the mentors demonstrated raise awareness, and they acknowledge racial stereotypes as barriers to interracial interactions and relationships, which is, which was very interesting for me to read. Mentors stressed the importance of mentoring students from underrepresented groups, and they actively tried to create more inclusive environments. Mentors also demonstrated awareness of implicit racial attitudes, and use experience. As a member of another out group, for example, women in higher education are also they face significant disadvantages as well to empathize with their students. So mentors needed to put in more effort as compared to same race mentorship to ensure success. And this was the sentiment of a lot of the mentors in interviewed in this project. And mentors expressed that same race mentors would have the biggest impact on how they felt only at the beginning, but did not, you know, as same race mentor would not have changed much about their overall mentoring mentoring relationship. Over the three months, one of the mentors said, I am quite a bit older than her, also white male. And so kind of on all levels, there are a lot of differences. And I knew I'd have to make it work to put her at ease and have regular contact, I have to I have to keep in mind my age, my degree, my kind of status, that I was male and white, and all those kinds of things just to try and make it more make it comfortable for her. In a low to no, no success relationship. The racial component was, I think, a very significant factor as well, where white mentors did not believe that racial difference between mentor and mentee had an impact on the outcome of the relationship. This is where I mentioned the color blindness that just now where they use that as a little bit of that shield, to not engage in that difficult conversation. So mentors expressed that it was not important to consider how racial dynamics might affect the mentor mentee interaction. They believed that if work interests align, racial dynamics would not influence the relationship, since common interests should supersede racial differences. The mentors also when interviewed, were very uncomfortable answering questions that explicitly asked about race. And they also did not exhibit racial awareness. So mentees also did not have a have any significant thought about race and its impact on the mentoring relationship. So I wouldn't say it was only the mentors being unaware the mentees also didn't necessarily want to engage with the racial component of it as well. So the mentor said, one of the mentors said, I just don't see how race ethnicity class minority anything. I just don't see how that came out. I really don't and I thought about it. So this was one of the most this was to me, one of the most prominent statements that a mentor from a from an unsuccessful mentoring relationship made, which is why I put it here that I feel like there is especially when mentors do not see how race class ethnicity any of these intersecting factors that make up the life of their mentee had anything to do with a successful mentoring relationship. That is one of the biggest indicators of that of the fact that this relationship is not going to be successful. And this really came out in this particular mentor statement. Now, I want to this this is a four minute clip, I want to play this for you. This student who is speaking here is you know, I cannot reveal any any details about the student at all, but I had received consent to play this for the presentation. So this is an ethnic minority students personal experience with two different white mentors. So I think it'd be really useful to for us to listen to this.
I am a first generation South Asian immigrant and my parents and I first immigrated to the UK in 2002. I'm currently in the penultimate year of my undergraduate degree and since being University I've had two different white male academic advisors. I really really struggled during the first year at university with undiagnosed ADHD and my Mental health issues. My performance really was limited by my circumstances at the time. So I do feel that it's quite important to highlight my individual case as the different ways my two advisors, approached my problems really dictated my experience as a beam student in terms of having the confidence to approach my difficulties at the time. So my first advisor was assigned to me during my first year at university. And I did feel at the time that although he knew my problems, he had no genuine private concern about them. I was really vocal about negative South Asians specific cultural norms and how they impacted me, pressured me, or caused a lot of difficulties in my academics. And I felt no real response from my previous advisor, I think that maybe you felt you had no place to give input. I mean, maybe speculating doesn't really explain the extent to the of the issue, but I didn't feel a response. And that paired with the fact that we didn't have consistent meetings, when we did meet, it solely focused on academic aspects of my experience, and I essentially had no outlet to explain my difficulties and ask for help. With regards to my personal difficulties. I do feel when I did feel at the time that a vain faculty member would have resonated with my struggles a lot more. And I do feel that he himself was sort of indifferent to my problems at the time. Towards the end of the academic year, I was given the opportunity to change advisors, I did so immediately. My current advisor is also a white male. But the experience has been completely different. He gives me the room to talk about my experiences without judgment, I'm again very vocal about my problems. And my present advisor shows no expression of judgment or confusion. I mean, rather, he shows a real attempt to understand or try to understand. And he's accepted the way that I choose to express myself. It's that acceptance that's really given me comfort. He also kind of links discussions together, so the discussions would have meaningfully linked to each other. And he remembers what I refer to in a previous discussion and then linked it without outright reminding me of a negative experience. I mean, it seems that he tries himself to understand and mentally map out what I'm going through. And he just continuously encourages me, I think, whenever my dialogue is self deprecating or defeatist, he really tries to advise me on how to be positive. And we're both aware of the sort of interracial differences when conversations are centered around culture. But he actively tries to avoid being sort of presumptuous or speechless, he just accepts me and looks to engage and try to understand which is really important to me. During my first year, I had consistently achieved grades a lot lower than what I knew I could achieve, I received to choose thirds, I even scored a 17% on one assignment. I recently received some feedback on two summative assignments, one of which I received in 84%, and the other 95%. Although there are many, many reasons as to why I'm now better able to manage my difficulties, I do feel that my having my present advisor has very much improved my confidence and has equipped me to be better able to kind of reach my potential and approach my issues. It seems clear to me that the demographic of advisors for Boehm students in my case does not necessarily dictate the quality of the experience, rather a space for I mean, open dialogue, with encouragement, persistence, and acceptance does. And I hope that my experience is useful in showcasing that white faculty members can also empower them students. Thank you for listening.
Alright, so I found that personally very, very inspiring. You know, hearing the students speak the way that she did, I tried to extract some of the things that she has said, and tried to align it with what the research project from Portland State University tried to show as well. So first, when she discussed about developing a personal relationship and her two different experiences, she mentioned that there was no opportunity to express the personal issues that limited her and how all her meetings focused only on only on academic matters, versus the next mentorship. An experience that she had, where she felt free to express herself and mentor provided comfort, reassurance and showed genuine concern. And they also discussed issues outside of work in academia. Now, the second theme that emerged from her conversation was ongoing and meaningful follow up discussions. So comparing her two experiences, the one that she found unsuccessful showed a failure to follow up and maintain communication, despite the students initiative to establish contact and express her challenges versus the successful mentorship mentoring experience, where she said that meetings were very consistent. And the mentor listened actively remembering the students challenges to help monitor her progress. And finally, sensitivity to cultures specific concerns, her unsuccessful mentoring relationship had indifference when you know, she met with her mentor, you know, because there was no discussion on culture, or there was an indifference to the discussions on culture or cultural differences more specifically. So there was also no real attempt to engage or try to understand the students feelings. Versus during a successful relationship. There was that acknowledgement of the difference in cultural backgrounds, and engagement and fruitful dialogue without judgment or disapproval. So if I can go further and map the same, the same themes that extracted you know, I extracted from her conversation, it really does match up with what the study actually found on the themes that they identified, which is expectations and perception of the mentoring relationship, the actual mentoring relationship and what that entails, and the racial component where there is an acknowledgement and understanding that these differences exist, and the differences actually can, you know, impact how the relationship goes on. Now, if I could summarize, overall, based on my entire talk, I think under expectations and perceptions, it is important for to keep mentees goals and aspirations at the forefront. Along with of course, the supervisors or the mentors goals where you know, why they engage in the relationship, it needs to be, you know, both of their goals and aspirations need to be equally valuable. So it is also important to overcome negative perceptions, stereotypes and try and build that trust, which is important in developing mutual liking and the bond. In terms of the mentoring relationship, it is important to provide mentees with tools for growth and development, it is important to have an equal status relationship working towards that shared goal, and of course, effective communication. And finally, the racial component, which I always find very fascinating is demonstrating the awareness of race and ethnicity, acknowledging our own unconscious or implicit biases, being empathetic and allowing vulnerability as I first mentioned in the in the beginning, and having open conversations about racial dynamics that can play into the relationship and the success of the mentoring relationship.
And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to like, rate and subscribe. And join me next time where I'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.