Washington Update

NASEM Issues Report on Effective Mentorship in STEMM

By: Yvette Seger
Thursday, November 7, 2019

On Oct. 30, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM’s) Board on Higher Education and Workforce released the consensus study report, The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM. The culmination of nearly two years of research, the report provides a comprehensive review of the science of mentoring and mentorship and recommends frameworks for establishing and maintaining effective mentoring relationships.

During the release event, Angela Byars-Winson, PhD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Chair of the NASEM Committee on Effective Mentoring in STEMM, highlighted four key components of mentorship:

  • Trust between mentors and mentees;
  • Self-reflection throughout the mentorship process;
  • Clear articulation of expectations or goals for the mentoring relationship;
  • Education or recognition that mentorship is a learned skill that influences attitudes and behaviors of mentors and mentees.

In addition to reviewing the science underlying mentor-mentee relationships, the report presents nine recommendations that seek to alter the culture of mentorship, changing ad hoc relationships to those that are intentional, inclusive, and continuously monitored for effectiveness. Seven of the recommendations focus on the roles of mentors and mentees; the remaining ones indicate ways funding agencies can help foster effective mentorship.

To encourage adoption of these recommendations, NASEM has accompanied the print report with an online guide that includes resources and tools for establishing and evaluating mentoring programs.