IMPACT NSF Georgia Tech University and University of Colorado Colorado Springs


Welcome to IMPACT: Increasing Minority Presence within Academia through Continuous Training

Welcome to the collaborative IMPACT (Increasing Minority Presence within Academica through Continuous Training) program at Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. The IMPACT program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (15-7680) Office for Broadening Participation in Engineering. The program introduces a new mentoring and advocacy-networking paradigm which brings together two stakeholder groups: underrepresented minority (URM) engineering faculty and renowned emeriti engineering faculty who are recently retired. The program began in Fall 2015 with the intent of serving as an innovative strategy to complement prevailing approaches that support career mentorship opportunities of URM engineering faculty. This mentoring model moves beyond advisory mentoring to involve professional networking and advocacy by emeriti faculty who are uniquely positioned to provide these resources. The new paradigm encompasses three domains of mentorship: (1) career development; (2) sponsorship; and (3) coaching.

Mentoring matches of early- to mid-career URM engineering faculty from a variety of institutions with renowned emeriti engineering faculty were created based upon technical expertise. Seven emeriti faculty and 11 URM faculty joined the initial program. All mentors were retired from one Research 1 university, and the mentees were from across the country and from various types of institutions. Within the mentoring and advocacy-networking paradigm, URM faculty benefit from participating in socialization activities designed to extend their professional network by gaining access to the vast insights, greater discretionary time, contacts, and advocacy of emeriti faculty. Incentives for emeriti faculty to participate in the IMPACT program include the opportunity to continue to engage in the discipline by providing professional expertise and contributing to a more diversified next generation of engineering faculty. Mentors and mentees have engaged in a myriad of mentoring activities over the course of the IMPACT program based on mentee’s specific needs. For example, mentors have helped mentees develop stronger grant proposals, provided advice on university committee work, identified external letter writers for tenure and promotion processes, and provided guidance on campus administrative pathways.

The two-year IMPACT program synergizes mutual professional interests and technical expertise among faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). The PI for the IMPACT program is Dr. Comas Haynes of Georgia Tech, Co-PIs of the program are Dr. Rosario Gerhardt of Georgia Tech, Dr. Valerie Martin Conley of UCCS, and Dr. Sylvia Mendez of UCCS.

IMPACT Kick-Off Meeting Video