Race and Gender in Supervisor Choice

Reader L wants to know whether has been any research into the role of race and gender in PhD students’ choice of supervisors. The concern stems from anecdotal observations that male PhD students in engineering seem more likely to pick white male supervisors– which could be damaging to the promotion prospects of those who are not white and male.

One thought on “Race and Gender in Supervisor Choice

  1. I think this could be a worry, and anyone very involved with university Advance program ought to have some idea. Michigan, Rice, New Mexico State are three; there are literally dozens more. It should be easy to find the advance offices from a simple google search, or through NSF.

    I’ve taught quite a few students from our engineering college. I have had much more trouble on the ‘respect’ dimension with US male students than Muslim-country male students, of whom we have a large number. Perhaps this is due to the presence of women in engineering in some of those countries; a faculty friend from Turkey told me that it’s very surprising to someone coming from Turkey that there’s some problem with women and engineering.

    On the other hand, I hear tales of some male engineering faculty being quite awful to women students, to the point of telling them they don’t belong in engineering. I can’t say I have any first hand knowledge of this, but it is the sort of thing that can happen, I should think. Such a professor might also spread the word around that students shouldn’t pick women as advisers.

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