McNair Scholars Mentors
Serve as an external mentor to help first-generation college students or underrepresented groups get from college to the PhD
Author: Can Uslay
Dear Marketing Academics,
Please find below a worthy and much-needed initiative launched by one of my colleagues. McNair Scholars are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential, and they need mentors. The list of volunteer mentors are dominated by management scholars so far, and for the future viability of our discipline I think we need to pitch in. If you’d like to volunteer for this external mentorship role please sign up at: External Mentors for McNair Business Scholars.
More information can be obtained at mcnairscholars.com.
Thank you very much for your consideration,
Rutgers Business School
Chair, AMA Entrepreneurial Marketing SIG
Happy new year – I think. Still waiting for 2021 to prove itself better than 2020.
I write to ask if you’d be willing to serve as an external mentor for a McNair Scholar. The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at more than 150 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair Scholars are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, business students are not well-represented in the McNair Program. Yet, what a difference this program can make in the lives of its scholars, in the pipeline of under-represented faculty, and in the breadth of perspective in business education and scholarship! I am an early McNair Scholar and certainly wouldn’t be a professor now had I not been. But don’t hold that against this great program! If you have a McNair Program at your institution, I strongly encourage you to consider becoming a mentor, as these students can also provide great research support.
But I’m writing right now to ask if you’d be willing to serve as an external mentor. I recently founded the McNair Business Scholars Network to attract more business students across the country to the McNair Programs at their institutions, and then to help them through completion, enrollment in a business-relevant PhD program, and on to a successful career as a business school professor. You can find more information about this network on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. You can see from the attached document that we have some grand goals for this burgeoning network. But we’re still very early stage.
One of our aims is to ensure that every McNair Business Scholar has access to the advice of a leading scholar in their disciplinary area, at an external institution. We do not seek to substitute for or interfere with the internal scholar-mentor relationship at each school. Rather, we seek to augment it. External mentors provide informal advice, extend the scholar’s academic reach, and can serve as a source for letters of recommendation. External mentors are expected to meet with their scholars (virtually or otherwise) at least three times over the course of the McNair internship, to discuss milestones such as project selection, interim status, and steps after project completion.
Would you please, pretty please be willing to serve as an external mentor – that is, to advise a McNair Scholar from another institution who is doing work in your area? My intent is to develop a pool of willing external mentors composed of leading scholars from each of the disciplines of business – this is not just a management thing. Many of the schools with McNair Programs lack leading scholars in at least some of their disciplines, and so the insights and advice of an external mentor who is an active, top scholar in their area can make a world of difference in helping to select and complete appropriate projects, understand the demands of the profession, choose a good PhD program, etc. You can help create the next cohort of diverse business school faculty. And I don’t think it will take a great deal of time, as you are not the primary mentor. Just a few hours spread over the course of a year – unless you make such a strong connection that you wish to be more engaged.
I expect the mentor matches to take effect no sooner than Fall 2021. Thus, this requires no work from you in the near term. But I do want to start to assemble the pool now. You do NOT need to be at an institution with an active McNair Program, or even an active undergraduate program or PhD program. You can be from any institution anywhere in the world. For external mentors, I just seek leading, active business scholars who are ready, willing, and able to give clear advice to burgeoning scholars.
If you’re willing, please enter your information here:
Please freely share this link with other active scholars who you think would also be effective and willing to mentor. I’d especially appreciate you sharing this with other departments in your schools and across your universities, in hopes of reaching business disciplines beyond management.
I think you’ll find this very personally rewarding, and so I hope you’ll take the opportunity. In case you might wish to get even more involved, pasted below are some of our most specific plans that we’re getting underway right now:
We will host annual webinars focused on four issues. We are glad to expand the range of webinars in future years, but here is our initial offering:
Why become a McNair Scholar in business? Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, 3-4:30pm EST Intended for undergraduates who are considering applying for the McNair Program. It will not focus on the merits of the McNair Program in general, as there other resources available for that. Rather, we will discuss the nature of business school research, PhD programs in business, and what business school professors do.
Best practices for McNair Programs in business. Friday, Apr. 9, 2021, 3-4:30pm EDT
Intended for McNair Program directors and business school faculty and administrators. We will hear from several business schools about how they manage their McNair Programs, as well as from their university McNair Program offices about managing the interface between their office and the business school. There will be time for extensive Q&A.
Selecting a McNair project in business. Friday, Sep. 17, 2021, 3-4:30pm EDT
Intended for accepted McNair Scholars and their mentors. Features presentations on the nature of viable and excellent research projects on business within the scope of the McNair Program and discussions from recent alumni about what their projects and the challenges they faced.
Applying to PhD programs in business. Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, 3-4:30pm EDT
Intended for current McNair Scholars and recent alumni, though open to others. Not focused on why to pursue a PhD in business, but on how and where to apply, and what to expect.
We seek to develop a dedicated website. We lack the skill, so for now, we are archiving relevant materials on our YouTube channel. These materials will include testimonials from current students and alumni, updates on their accomplishments, archives of our webinars, and support materials relevant to the path to and through the McNair Program and on to and through a PhD in business and a successful career as a business school professor.
External Mentoring Network
Our aim is to ensure that every McNair Business Scholar has access to the advice of a leading scholar in their disciplinary area, at an external institution. We do not seek to substitute for or interfere with the internal scholar-mentor relationship; rather, we seek to augment it. External mentors provide informal advice, extend the scholar’s academic reach, and can serve as a source for letters of recommendation. External mentors are expected to meet with their scholars at least three times over the course of the McNair internship, to discuss milestones such as project selection, interim status, and steps after project completion.
We plan to create a set of three annual awards, based on the prior academic year, with an initial deadline for nominations of December 15, 2021 for 2020-21 AY awards. We welcome sponsors.
Best McNair Business Scholar Project. Eligible projects are those by a McNair Scholar completing the undergraduate degree within the prior five years that have been the basis of a peer-reviewed publication or were accepted for presentation at a major academic conference in any field of business.
McNair Business Scholar Alumni Achievement Award. This award recognizes a McNair alum with major achievements in business academia, with preference for those who have also engaged in serve to the McNair or similar other programs.
McNair Business Scholar Mentoring Award. Both internal and external mentors are eligible, to be nominated by their mentees and institutions.
The above are our initial plans. As the network grows and matures, we will update and add to our offerings. Again, we would be very pleased to have you be a part of this, and we very much welcome your input and advice.
Michael L. Barnett, Founder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ishva Minefee, Director (email@example.com)