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The Deaf Mentoring Survey: A Community Cultural Wealth Framework For Measuring Mentoring Effectiveness With Underrepresented Students

Derek C. Braun, Cara Gormally, M. Diane Clark

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Disabled individuals, women, and individuals from cultural/ethnic minorities continue to be underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Research has shown that mentoring improves retention for underrepresented individuals. However, existing mentoring surveys were developed to assess the majority population, not underrepresented individuals. We describe the development of a next-generation mentoring survey built upon capital theory and critical race theory. It emphasizes community cultural wealth, thought to be instrumental to the success of individuals from minority communities. Our survey targets relationships between deaf mentees and their research mentors and includes Deaf community cultural wealth. From our results, we identified four segregating factors: Being a Scientist, which incorporated the traditional capitals; Deaf Community Capital; Asking for Accommodations; and Communication Access. Being a Scientist scores did not vary among the mentor and mentee variables that we tested. However, Deaf Community Capital, Asking for Accommodations, and Communication Access were highest when a deaf mentee was paired with a mentor who was either deaf or familiar with the Deaf community, indicating that cultural competency training should improve these aspects of mentoring for deaf mentees. This theoretical framework and survey will be useful for assessing mentoring relationships with deaf students and could be adapted for other underrepresented groups.