A recent study has shed some light on discrimination in the hallowed halls of academia.
Researchers found that professors are less likely to mentor female and minority students. The Wharton School’s Katherine Milkman, together with Modupe Akinola of Columbia Business School and Dolly Chugh of NYU, sent mock emails to more than 6,500 professors at 259 top U.S. universities. The messages were crafted to look like prospective doctoral students had written them—they expressed interest in the professors’ work and asked for a ten-minute meeting to discuss research opportunities. Pretty standard, except for the names at the bottom of the emails: Brad Anderson, Meredith Roberts, Lamar Washington, LaToya Brown, Juanita Martinez, Deepak Patel, Sonali Desai, Chang Wong, Mei Chen. Milkman and team were trying to suss out whether signatures that conjured up one particular background or gender would do a better job of coaxing out teachers’ inner mentor. And, yes, one combo did inspire special generosity in academics: white plus guy.
Professors “ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from White males,” the researchers write, especially “in private schools and higher-paying disciplines.” The disparities were largest in the natural sciences and business, where, as Milkman told NPR, “we see a 25-percentage-point gap in the response rate to Caucasian males versus women and minorities.
Pretty interesting eh?
It underscores the focus I have had in the past 7 years in not just giving scholarship money but also adding the element of commitment to mentoring the awardees for the rest of my life. When selecting my scholarship awardees ( and they are only at two universities which are my alma mater locations – Southwestern School of Law and Pepperdine Presidential Key Executive Program – and they are women MBA and JDMBA students) I look for their willingness to mentor each other and the two new awardees that join the group every year. There are 7 awardees at this time and our relationships are blooming – new jobs, new contacts, new confidence and ongoing burgeoning contacts.
I believe that if every scholarship that is awarded globally was accompanied with lifelong mentoring – the results and output would be hugely positive and long lasting. My personal experiment is generating great philanthropic, academic, economic and emotional results as you can see from the happy faces of my Awardees, the Larraine Segil Scholars, below! I wrote about them in the summer but here they are again.
From left to right:
- Mehrnaz Hadian MD, JD Candidate Southwestern School of Law, Intensivist Staff Physician, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Fellow of American College of Critical Care Medicine
- Larraine Segil ( me!)
- Paulette Pantoja PKE MBA Candidate, CEO BluFocus Inc
- Linda LoRe PKE MBA Former CEO Giorgio of Beverly Hills, Former CEO Frederick’s of Hollywood, CEO of InJoy Global Inc
- Phoebe Chang Ph.D, PKE MBA Candidate, Senior Scientist Lotus Clinical Research
- Esme Williams MBA Candidate, COO, Master and Muse
- Meredith Lierz JD Southwestern School of Law, MBA from Claremont Drucker School of Management ( a joint program with Southwestern School of Law) ( a star in the making…..)
- Lauren Plunkett JD Candidate, Former Director of IT Enterprise Architecture, State of Colorado