Academic women faculty: are they finding the mentoring they need?

View Abstract

BACKGROUND

Although women comprise an increasing proportion of US medical school faculty, they are underrepresented at higher ranks. Lack of effective mentoring may contribute to this disparity. We examined the role of academic rank, research focus, parenting, and part-time work on mentoring importance, needs, and gaps.

METHODS

In 2009, women faculty members of Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine were invited by e-mail to participate in a 28-item structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and adjusted logistic regressions were used to identify relevant themes.

RESULTS

Of the 1179 women faculty who responded, 54% had a mentor, and 72% without a mentor desired mentoring. The most important mentor characteristic identified was availability. Respondents endorsed most mentoring areas as important (range 51%-99%); 52% of respondents identified mentoring gaps (area important and unmet) in developing and achieving career goals and negotiation skills. Interest in mentorship for skills needed for advancement (research and lecturing skills and getting national recognition) was significantly associated with lower rank. Assistant professors were most likely to identify mentoring related to writing and publishing articles, whereas associate professors identified program development/strategic planning as important. Faculty who are parents identified gaps in finding collaborators and balancing work and family life.

CONCLUSIONS

This survey identified a desire for both comprehensive and targeted mentoring to address gaps that varied by faculty rank, research focus, parenting, and work time status. Strategies to enhance mentoring should address career stages and include a structured framework for assessing mentoring gaps.

Investigators
Abbreviation
J Womens Health (Larchmt)
Publication Date
2012-08-20
Volume
21
Issue
11
Page Numbers
1201-8
Pubmed ID
22906003
Medium
Print-Electronic
Full Title
Academic women faculty: are they finding the mentoring they need?
Authors
Blood EA, Ullrich NJ, Hirshfeld-Becker DR, Seely EW, Connelly MT, Warfield CA, Emans SJ