1887

The Supervisory Role of Life Science Research Faculty: The Missing Link to Diversifying the Academic Workforce?

    Authors: Laurence Clement1,*, Karen Nicole Leung2, James Bennett Lewis2, Naledi Marie Saul1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Office of Career and Professional Development, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143; 2: City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94112
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 27 August 2019 Accepted 21 February 2020 Published 10 April 2020
    • ©2020 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Office of Career and Professional Development, University of California, San Francisco, 1675 Owens St., Ste. 310, San Francisco, CA 94143. Phone: 415-502-3097. Fax: 415-476-4986. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. April 2020 vol. 21 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i1.1911
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    Abstract:

    In addition to developing innovative research programs, life science research faculty at research-intensive institutions are tasked with providing career mentoring and scientific training to new generations of scientists, including postgraduate, graduate, and undergraduate students. In this essay, we argue for a redefinition of mentoring in laboratory research, to thoroughly distinguish three essential roles played by research faculty relative to their trainees: advisor, educator, and supervisor. In particular, we pay attention to the often unacknowledged and misunderstood role of a faculty member as a supervisor and discuss the impact of neglecting supervisory best practices on trainees, on the diversity of the academic pipeline, and on the research enterprise. We also provide actionable frameworks for research mentors who wish to use inclusive supervisory and pedagogical practices in their laboratory. Finally, we call for more research around the supervisory role of research faculty and its impact on trainees, particularly community college students, in order to help broaden the participation of underrepresented students in STEM fields.

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v21i1.1911
2020-04-10
2021-04-20

Abstract:

In addition to developing innovative research programs, life science research faculty at research-intensive institutions are tasked with providing career mentoring and scientific training to new generations of scientists, including postgraduate, graduate, and undergraduate students. In this essay, we argue for a redefinition of mentoring in laboratory research, to thoroughly distinguish three essential roles played by research faculty relative to their trainees: advisor, educator, and supervisor. In particular, we pay attention to the often unacknowledged and misunderstood role of a faculty member as a supervisor and discuss the impact of neglecting supervisory best practices on trainees, on the diversity of the academic pipeline, and on the research enterprise. We also provide actionable frameworks for research mentors who wish to use inclusive supervisory and pedagogical practices in their laboratory. Finally, we call for more research around the supervisory role of research faculty and its impact on trainees, particularly community college students, in order to help broaden the participation of underrepresented students in STEM fields.

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FIGURE 1

Research faculty at research-focused institutions take on multiple roles with their trainees in the laboratory. As research advisors, they support the career development of trainees (green circle); as research educators, they teach concepts and skills (blue circle); and as research supervisors, they oversee human resources (red circle).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. April 2020 vol. 21 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i1.1911
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