Improving Graduate-Student Mentorship by Investing in Traineeship Grants
Graduate students are more likely to persist in their academic decisions if engaged in positive mentoring experiences. Graduate students also cite positive mentoring experiences as the most important factor in completing a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, or Medicine (STEMM) degree. In the United States, though, these benefits are often undermined by a research ecosystem that ties mentorship and training of graduate students by Principal Investigators (PIs) to funding in the form of research assistantships. Such arrangements often lead to unreasonable work expectations, toxic work environments, and poor mentor-mentee relationships.
To improve research productivity, empower predoctoral researchers to achieve their career goals, and increase the intellectual freedom that young scientists need to pursue productively disruptive scholarship, we recommend that federal science funding agencies:
1. Establish traineeship grant programs at all federal science funding agencies.
2. Require every PI receiving a federal research grant to implement an Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each student funded by that grant.
3. Require every university receiving federal training grants to create a plan for how it will provide mentorship training to faculty, and to actively consider student mentorship as part of faculty promotion, reappointment, and tenure processes.
4. Direct and fund federal science agencies to build professional development networks and create other training opportunities to help more PIs learn best practices for mentorship.
Good data is a critical component of delivering effective government services from local to federal levels. But now, too much useful data lives in a silo.
The authors propose that the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse convene government actors, civil society organizations, and industry representatives to create an Anti-Online Harassment (AOH) Hub to improve and standardize responses to online harassment and to provide evidence-based recommendations to the Task Force.
If the 118th Congress decides to reauthorize the ESRA, ALI urges the HELP committee to strengthen our education system by prioritizing the following policies.
A large portion of gig workers are people of color, and the nature of their temporary and largely unregulated work can leave them vulnerable to economic instability and workplace abuse. To increase protections for fair work, the Department of Labor should create an Office of the Ombudsman for Fair Work.