Undergraduate research experiences are a “high impact” educational practice that confer benefits to students. However, little attention has been paid to understanding faculty motivation to mentor undergraduate students through research training programs, even as the number of programs has grown, requiring increasing numbers of faculty mentors. To address this, we introduce a conceptual model for understanding faculty motivation to mentor and test it by using empirical data to identify factors that enable and constrain faculty engagement in an undergraduate research program. Using cross-sectional survey data collected in 2013, we employed generalized linear modeling to analyze data from 536 faculty across 13 research institutions to examine how expected costs/benefits, dispositional factors, situational factors, previous experience, and demographic factors predicted faculty motivation to mentor. Results show that faculty who placed greater value on the opportunity to increase diversity in the academy through mentorship of underrepresented minorities were more likely to be interested in serving as mentors. Faculty who agreed more strongly that mentoring undergraduate students was time consuming and their institution’s reward structures were at odds with mentoring, or who had more constrained access to undergraduate students were less likely to be interested in serving as mentors. Mid-career faculty were more likely than late-career faculty to be interested in serving as mentors. Findings have implications for improving undergraduate research experiences, since the success of training programs hinges on engaging highly motivated faculty members as mentors.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Aagaard, E. M., & Hauer, K. E. (2003). A cross-sectional descriptive study of mentoring relationships formed by medical students. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 18(4), 298–302.
Allen, T. D. (2003). Mentoring others: A dispositional and motivational approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 62, 134–154.
Allen, T. D. (2007). Mentoring relationships from the perspective of the mentor. In B. R. Ragins & K. E. Kram (Eds.), The handbook of mentoring at work: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 123–147). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Allen, T. D., Eby, L. T., & Lentz, E. (2006). The relationship between formal mentoring program characteristics and perceived program effectiveness. Personnel Psychology, 59, 125–153.
Allen, T. D., & Poteet, M. L. (1999). Developing effective mentoring relationships: Strategies from the mentor’s viewpoint. Career Development Quarterly, 48, 59–73.
Allen, T. D., Poteet, M. L., & Burroughs, S. M. (1997a). The mentor’s perspective: A qualitative inquiry and future research agenda. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 51, 70–89.
Allen, T. D., Poteet, M. L., Russell, J. E. A., & Dobbins, G. H. (1997b). A field study of factors related to supervisors’ willingness to mentor others. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50, 1–22.
Allison, P. (2005). Imputation of categorical variables with PROC MI. SUGI 30 Proceedings 113-30:1–14. http://www2.sas.com/proceedings/sugi30/113-30.pdf. (Last Accessed 16 July 2015).
Antonio, A. L. (2002). Faculty of color reconsidered: Reassessing contributions to scholarship. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(5), 582–602.
Aryee, S., Chay, Y. W., & Chew, J. (1996). The motivation to mentor among managerial employees in the maintenance career stage: An interactionist’s perspective. Group and Organization Management, 21, 261–277.
Bauer, K. W., & Bennett, J. S. (2003). Alumni perceptions on the value of undergraduate research. Journal of Higher Education, 74, 210–230.
Bauer, K. W., & Bennett, J. S. (2008). Evaluation of the undergraduate research program at the university of delaware: A multifaceted design. In R. Taraban & R. L. Blanton (Eds.), Creating effective undergraduate research programs in science: The transformation from student to scientist. New York: Teachers College Press.
Bellas, M., & Toutkoushian, R. (1999). Faculty time allocations and research productivity: Gender, race and family effects. The Review of Higher Education, 22(4), 367–390.
Belsley, D., Kuh, E., & Welsch, R. (1980). Regression diagnostics: Identifying influential data and sources of collinearity. New Jersey: Wiley.
Blanton, R. L. (2008). A brief history of undergraduate research. In R. Taraban & R. L. Blanton (Eds.), Creating effective undergraduate research programs in science: The transformation from student to scientist. New York: Columbia University Press.
Bozionelos, N. (2004). Mentoring provided: Relation to mentor’s career success, personality, and mentoring received. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 64, 24–46.
Branchaw, J., Pfund, C., & Rediske, R. (2010). Entering research: A facilitator’s manual. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.
Brown, M. C., II, Davis, G. L., & McClendon, S. A. (1999). Mentoring graduate students of color: Myths, models, and modes. Peabody Journal of Education, 74(2), 105–118.
Campbell, T. A., & Campbell, D. E. (1997). Faculty/student mentor program: Effects on academic performance and retention. Research in Higher Education, 38(6), 727–742.
Chopin, S. F. (2002). Undergraduate research experiences: The transformation of science education from reading to doing. Anatomical Record, 269, 3–10.
Cole, D., & Espinoza, A. (2008). Examining the academic success of latino students in science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors. Journal of College Student Development, 49(4), 285–300.
Cook, C., Heath, F., & Thompson, R. (2000). A meta-analysis of response rates in web-or-internet-based surveys. Education and Psychological Measurement, 60, 821–836.
Cronan-Hillix, T., Davidson, W. S., Cronan-Hillix, W. A., & Gensheimer, L. K. (1986). Student’s views of mentors in psychology graduate training. Teaching of Psychology, 13, 123–127.
Dalton, G. W., Thompson, P. H., & Price, R. L. (1977). The four stages of professional careers: A new look at performance by professionals. Organization Dynamics, 6(2), 19–42.
Dillman, D. A. (2007). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design, second edition—2007 update. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Eagan, K., Hurtado, S., Chang, M., Garcia, G., Herrera, F., & Garibay, J. (2013). Making a difference in science education the impact of undergraduate research programs. American Educational Research Journal, 50(4), 683–713.
Eagan, K., Sharkness, J., Hurtado, S., Mosqueda, C., & Chang, M. (2011). Engaging undergraduate in science research: Not just about faculty willingness. Research in Higher Education, 52, 151–177.
Eby, T., Durley, J., Evans, C., & Shockley, K. (2005, April). What predicts the benefits of mentoring for mentors? Paper presented at the 20th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Los Angeles.
Eby, T., Lockwood, L., & Butts, M. (2006). Perceived support for mentoring: A multiple perspectives approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68, 267–291.
Einarson, M., & Clarkberg, M. (2004). Understanding faculty out-of-class interaction with undergraduate students at a research university. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI), Cornell University.
Emerson, R. M. (1981). Social exchange theory. In M. Rosenberg & R. H. Turner (Eds.), Social psychology: Sociological perspectives (pp. 30–65). New York: Basic Books.
Enders, C. K. (2010). Applied missing data analysis. New York: Guilford Press.
Espinosa, L. (2009). Pipelines and pathways: Women of color in STEM majors and the experiences that shape their persistence. Unpublished doctoral dissertation.
Garson, G. (2012). Generalized linear models and generalized estimating equations. Asheboro, NC: Statistical Associates Publishing.
Gates, A. Q., Teller, P., Bernat, A., Delgado, N., & Della-Piana, C. (1999). Expanding participation in undergraduate research using the affinity group model. Journal of Engineering Education, 88, 409–414.
Gibb, S. (1999). The usefulness of theory: A case study in evaluating formal mentoring schemes. Human Relations, 52(8), 1055–1075.
Harvey, L., & Thompson, K. (2009). Approaches to undergraduate research and their practical impact on faculty productivity in the natural sciences. Journal of College Student Teaching, 38(5), 12–13.
Hathaway, R. S., Nagda, B., & Gregerman, S. (2002). The relationship of undergraduate research participation to graduate and professional education pursuit: An empirical study. Journal of College Student Development, 43(5), 614–631.
Hegstad, C. D. (1999). Formal mentoring as a strategy for human resource development: A review of research. Human Research Development Quarterly, 10(4), 383–390.
Herzberg, F. (1966). Work and the nature of man. Cleveland, OH: World Publishing Company.
Horton, N., Lipsitz, S., & Parzen, M. (2003). A potential for bias when rounding in multiple imputation. The American Statistician, 57(4), 229–232.
Hunter, A.-B., Laursen, S., & Seymour, E. (2007). Becoming a scientist: The role of undergraduate research in students’ cognitive, personal, and professional development. Science Education, 91(1), 36–74.
Hurte, V. J. (2002). Mentoring: The forgotten retention tool. Black Issues in Higher Education, 19, 18–49.
Ishiyama, J. (2002). Does early participation in undergraduate research benefit social science and humanities majors? Journal of College Student Development, 36(3), 380–386.
Jaschik, S. (2015). Mentoring as tenure criterion. Inside Higher Education. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/07/20/purdue-moves-make-mentoring-undergraduates-criterion-tenure.
Johnson, W. B. (2002). The intentional mentor: Strategies and guidelines for the practice of mentoring. Professional Psychology, Research and Practice, 33(1), 88–96.
Johnsrud, L. K., & Rosser, V. R. (2002). Faculty members’ morale and their intention to leave: A multilevel explanation. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(4), 518–542.
Jones, M. T., Barlow, A. E., & Villarejo, M. (2010). Importance of undergraduate research for minority persistence and achievement in biology. The Journal of Higher Education, 81(1), 82–115.
Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Thoresen, C. J., & Patton, G. K. (2001). The job satisfaction—Job performance relationships: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3), 376–407.
Kardash, C. A. (2000). Evaluation of an undergraduate research experience: Perceptions of undergraduate interns and their faculty mentors. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 191–201.
Kim, Y. K., & Sax, L. J. (2009). Student–faculty interaction in research universities: Differences by student gender, race, social class, and first-generation status. Research in Higher Education, 50(5), 437–459.
Knox, S., Schlosser, L. Z., Pruitt, N. T., & Hill, C. E. (2006). A Qualitative examination of graduate advising relationships: The advisor perspective. The Counseling Psychologist, 34(4), 489–518.
Kram, K. E. (1985). Mentoring at work. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.
Kram, K. E., & Hall, D. T. (1996). Mentoring in a context of diversity and turbulence. In E. E. Kossek & S. Lobel (Eds.), Managing diversity: Human resource strategies for transforming the workplace. Cambridge: Blackwell.
Kuh, G. D. (2008). High impact educational practices. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges and Universities.
Kuh, G., & Nelson Laird, T. (2007). Why teacher scholars matter: Some insights from NSSE and FSSE. Liberal Education, 93, 40–45.
Laursen, S., Hunter, A.-B., Seymour, E., Thiry, H., & Melton, G. (2010). Undergraduate research in the sciences: Engaging students in real science. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Lawler, E. J., & Thye, S. R. (1999). Bringing emotions into social exchange theory. Annual Review of Sociology, 25(1), 217–244.
Levinson, D. J. (1978). Seasons of a man’s life. New York: Academic Press.
Lopatto, D. (2004). Survey of undergraduate research experience (SURE): First findings. Cell Biology Education, 3, 270–277.
Lopatto, D. (2010). Undergraduate research as a high-impact experience. Peer Review, 12, 27–30.
Luna, G., & Cullen, D. (1995). Empowering the faculty: Mentoring revisited and renewed (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 3). Washington, DC: The George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
Manfreda, K., & Vehovar, V. (2008). Internet surveys. In E. Leeuw, J. Hox, & D. Dillman (Eds.), International handbook of surveys. New York: CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group.
McManus, S. E., & Russell, J. E. A. (1997). New directions for mentoring research: An examination of related constructs. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 51(1), 145–161.
Merkel, C. A. (2001). Undergraduate research at six research universities: A pilot study for the association of american universities. Pasadena: California Institute of Technology.
Nagda, B. A., Gregerman, S. R., Jonides, J., von Hippel, W., & Lerner, J. S. (1998). Undergraduate student-faculty research partnerships affect student retention. Review of Higher Education, 22(1), 55–72.
Nelder, J. A., & Wedderburn, R. W. M. (1972). Generalized linear models. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 135, 370–384.
O’Meara, K. A., & Braskamp, L. (2005). Aligning faculty reward systems and development to promote faculty and student growth. NASPA Journal, 42(2), 223–240.
Organ, D. W., & Ryan, K. (1995). A meta-analytic review of attitudinal and dispositional predictors of organizational citizenship behavior. Personnel Psychology, 48(4), 775–802.
Pike, G. R. (1995). The relationship between self reports of college experiences and achievement test scores. Research in Higher Education, 36, 1–22.
Pike, G. R. (1999). The constant error of the halo in educational outcomes research. Research in Higher Education, 40, 61–86.
Pike, G. (2006). The convergent and discriminant validity of NSSE scalelet scores. Journal of College Student Development, 47(5), 550–563.
Prince, M., Felder, R., & Brent, R. (2007). Does faculty research improve undergraduate teaching? An analysis of existing and potential synergies. Journal of Engineering Education, 96(4), 283–294.
Ragins, B. R., & Cotton, J. L. (1993). Gender and willingness to mentor in organizations. Journal of Management, 19, 97–111.
Ragins, B. R., Cotton, J. L., & Miller, J. S. (2000). Marginal mentoring: The effects of type of mentor, quality of relationship, and program design on work and career attitudes. Academy of Management Journal, 43, 1177–1194.
Ragins, B. R., & Scandura, T. A. (1999). Burden or blessing? Expected costs and benefits of being a mentor. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20, 493–509.
Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Thousand Oaks, CAc: Sage.
Rodwell, L., Lee, K., Romaniuk, H., & Carlin, J. (2014). Comparison of methods for imputing limited-range variables: A simulation study. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 14, 57.
Rosser, V. J. (2004). Faculty members’ intentions to leave: A national study on their worklife and satisfaction. Research in Higher Education, 45(3), 285–309.
Russell, S. H. (2008). Undergraduate research opportunities: Facilitating and encouraging the transition from student to scientist. In R. Taraban & R. L. Blanton (Eds.), Creating effective undergraduate research programs in science: The transformation from student to scientist (pp. 53–80). New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University.
Schultz, P. W., Hernandez, P. R., Woodcock, A., Estrada, M., Chance, R. C., Aguilar, M., et al. (2011). Patching the pipeline reducing educational disparities in the sciences through minority training programs. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(1), 95–114.
Seymour, E., Hunter, A., Laursen, S. L., & Deantoni, T. (2004). Establishing the benefits of research experiences for undergraduates in the sciences: First findings from a three-year study. Science Education, 88, 493–534.
Stromei, L. K. (2000). Increasing retention and success through mentoring. New Directions for Community Colleges, 112, 55–62.
Tompkins, L. (1998). Being a scientist: One woman’s experience. In A. Pattarucci (Ed.), Women in science: Meeting career challenges (pp. 110–115). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Villarejo, M., Barlow, A. E., Kogan, D., Veazey, B. D., & Sweeney, J. K. (2008). Encouraging minority undergraduates to choose science careers: career paths survey results. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 7(4), 394–409.
Volkwein, F., & Carbone, D. (1994). The impact of departmental research and teaching climates on undergraduate growth and satisfaction. Journal of Higher Education, 65, 147–167.
Wang, S., Noe, R. A., Wang, Z., & Greenberger, D. B. (2009). What affects willingness to mentor in the future? An investigation of attachment styles and mentoring experiences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74, 245–256.
Wasserman, E. R. (2000). The door in the dream: Conversations with eminent women in science. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press.
Webber, K. L., Nelson Laird, T. F., & BrckaLorenz, A. M. (2013). Student and faculty member engagement in undergraduate research. Research in Higher Education, 54, 227–249.
Zydney, A. L., Bennett, J. S., Shahid, A., & Bauer, K. W. (2002). Faculty perspectives regarding the undergraduate research experience in science and engineering. Journal of Engineering Education, 91(3), 291–297.
We acknowledge our research team, which includes Heather Daniels, Gabrielle Mendoza and Angela Frederick, as well as the faculty members who participated in the survey. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20MD008700. We also thank the National Institutes of Health Diversity Program Consortium for support through BUILD award numbers 8RL5GM118969-02 (Morales and Grineski) and 8UL1GM118970-02 (Collins). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
About this article
Cite this article
Morales, D.X., Grineski, S.E. & Collins, T.W. Faculty Motivation to Mentor Students Through Undergraduate Research Programs: A Study of Enabling and Constraining Factors. Res High Educ 58, 520–544 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-016-9435-x
- Undergraduate research experiences
- Faculty motivation to mentor
- Undergraduate research programs