Negotiating mentoring relationships and support for Black and Brown early-career faculty

Natalie S. King, Bhaskar Upadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In this essay, we share historical and structural components of mentoring within institutions of higher education and grapple with technical and moral obligations of support. We argue for more humanizing approaches that embed personal, social, and cultural aspects of mentoring, and seek to disrupt the purposes of mentoring, and for whom? Using a critical approach, we promote justice-oriented and equity-driven models of mentoring that account for excessive teaching loads and service commitments for faculty at minority-serving institutions and Black and Brown faculty at predominantly White institutions. Current promotion and tenure publish or perish models neglect the intellectual and scholarly contributions made through teaching and service and therefore hold the same level of expectations for engagement in and dissemination of research. We share our own stories as Faculty of Color navigating institutional structures during the promotion and tenure process, while also negotiating incongruent cultures of our personal and professional lives. Furthermore, we address the need for mentoring and networking within exclusionary spaces to support the productivity and critical research agendas of Black and Brown faculty that often challenge the white heteronormative cultures of our institutions, professional organizations, peer-reviewed journals, and prestigious funding mechanisms. Implications of this essay include an acknowledgment of oppressive systems that early-career Black and Brown faculty often navigate and a call for diverse mentoring programs and supports that conform with and validate our lives and needs. Furthermore, we provide recommendations on evidence-based resources and approaches that are available to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics faculty and science educators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1171
Number of pages23
JournalScience Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • STEM education
  • early-career faculty
  • mentoring
  • race and gender


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