Presentation Title

Protégé perceptions of negative mentoring during undergraduate research experiences

Faculty Mentor

Erin Dolan

Start Date

18-11-2017 11:00 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 11:15 AM

Location

15-1822

Session

Social Science 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

education

Abstract

A growing body of literature outlines the positive outcomes of research experiences for undergraduates (UREs) in STEM fields. Mentoring, where a more experienced individual (mentor) acts as a guide or teacher to the student (protégé), is an important component of these research experiences. The negative or problematic experiences that protégés can encounter while being mentored have been under-studied. Studies on negative mentoring in the workplace suggest that protégés can suffer from reduced learning, less professional development, decreased job satisfaction, and increased stress. Research suggests this can be worse than having no mentor at all. To date, little if any research has examined the effects of negative mentoring on undergraduate researchers. This study aims to understand the negative characteristics and experiences of mentoring that undergraduates may encounter during UREs. Graduates of a life science major from a large research university, who were required to complete two semesters of undergraduate research, were invited to participate. Participants were asked to provide feedback about their URE and the mentoring they experienced via surveys and follow-up interviews. Deductive and inductive content analysis procedures were used to categorize phenomena and create a taxonomy of negative mentoring. Sixteen categories have been identified from research on negative mentoring in workplace settings. Of these, eleven were found and five were not found in our data sample. In addition, initial analysis indicates that there may be nine new categories unique to undergraduate research. This research provides an initial examination of the negative experiences undergraduates can experience while participating in research.

Summary of research results to be presented

Of the 115 participants invited, nineteen responded to the survey, eight volunteered to participate in a follow-up interview to better understand their negative mentoring experiences, and four were interviewed. Participants reported a wide variety of experiences ranging from extremely positive to extremely negative or undesirable. The content analysis revealed sixteen categories that have been identified from research on negative mentoring in workplace settings. Of these, eleven were found and five were not found in our data sample. The eleven that were discovered included occurrences which were classified as inappropriate delegation, self-absorption, intentional exclusion, tyranny, neglect, mismatched personality, mismatched work-styles, sabotage, interpersonal competencies, technical competencies, and intentional exclusion. In addition, initial analysis indicates that there may be nine new categories unique to undergraduate research. These nine new categories include discrimination, lack of effective communication, perceived inadequate project value, embarrassment, unrealistic expectations, lack of autonomy, time consumption, competition, and insufficient training opportunity. These themes were used to create a taxonomy that can be used to classify negative mentoring experiences found in undergraduate research settings. As a whole this research provides an initial examination of the negative experiences undergraduates can experience while participating in research. The future steps involve expanding the study to involve more respondents from multiple institutions to improve generalizability of findings and developing a quantitative measure of negative mentoring for use in future, larger-scale, quantitative research.

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Nov 18th, 11:00 AM Nov 18th, 11:15 AM

Protégé perceptions of negative mentoring during undergraduate research experiences

15-1822

A growing body of literature outlines the positive outcomes of research experiences for undergraduates (UREs) in STEM fields. Mentoring, where a more experienced individual (mentor) acts as a guide or teacher to the student (protégé), is an important component of these research experiences. The negative or problematic experiences that protégés can encounter while being mentored have been under-studied. Studies on negative mentoring in the workplace suggest that protégés can suffer from reduced learning, less professional development, decreased job satisfaction, and increased stress. Research suggests this can be worse than having no mentor at all. To date, little if any research has examined the effects of negative mentoring on undergraduate researchers. This study aims to understand the negative characteristics and experiences of mentoring that undergraduates may encounter during UREs. Graduates of a life science major from a large research university, who were required to complete two semesters of undergraduate research, were invited to participate. Participants were asked to provide feedback about their URE and the mentoring they experienced via surveys and follow-up interviews. Deductive and inductive content analysis procedures were used to categorize phenomena and create a taxonomy of negative mentoring. Sixteen categories have been identified from research on negative mentoring in workplace settings. Of these, eleven were found and five were not found in our data sample. In addition, initial analysis indicates that there may be nine new categories unique to undergraduate research. This research provides an initial examination of the negative experiences undergraduates can experience while participating in research.