Mentorship programs for Native American (NA) faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields hold significant promise toward developing, recruiting, and retaining NA members of the professoriate. In 2018, a qualitative study was conducted that explored experiences, and mentoring relationships that enhanced or inhibited professional development and career advancement of NA faculty and instructors in STEM fields. The study used Indigenous Research Methodologies to coconstruct a conversational moderator’s guide aligning with Indigenous community ontology. Interview questions were developed from the existing literature and programs and the project teams’ expertise. Twenty-three NA faculty and instructors and a postdoctoral trainee in STEM fields participated in the interviews. Transcripts were coded, organized, and interpreted. Themes and subthemes were generated, which were noted for relevance to the theoretical framework. Participants described their experience working in higher education as viewed through their academic, social and cultural values, relationships, and responsibilities. Common themes included the (a) importance of peer, senior and community mentors, (b) value of oral presentation to professional development, (c) need for social connectedness and work–life balance, and (d) importance of increasing institutional knowledge about Indigenous values and research methodologies. Several themes aligned with TribalCrit, allowing for a strong critique of NA faculty mentoring by NA’s in higher education. The narratives underscore the need for institutions to deliver professional development and mentoring programs for NA faculty and for administrators to strengthen institutional supports to improve NA faculty achievement.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF), Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Human Resource Development (HRD). This is an AGEP–T: Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate–Transformation under HRD grant numbers 1723248 (University of Montana), 1723006 (Salish Kootenai College), and 1723196 (Sitting Bull College). We would also like to acknowledge Dr. Erik Brodt’s funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Workforce under grant number D34HP31026 and Dr. Johnson-Jennings’ funding from the National Institute of Health 1RO1DA037176-01.
© 2022 American Psychological Association
- Faculty development and retention
- Native american
- Stem fields
- Tribal critical race theory