A new student-led report is providing insights and recommendations to improve the lives of racialized graduate students at UBC.
The Effective Mentorship of Racialized Graduate Students (EMRGS) initiative is a two-year, student-led project funded by the Anti-Racism Initiatives Fund and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Inspired by a 2021 op-ed by graduate student Dwayne Tucker, the EMRGS focused on capturing the complexities, gaps, successes, and possibilities of mentoring racialized UBC graduate students.
After holding a forum in 2022, consulting with graduate students and faculty, and distributing a survey to graduate students, the EMRGS initiative has released a report with recommendations.
More than 90 students shared their mentorship experiences through surveys and focus groups. While most reported excellent or good experiences with their supervisors, some expressed concerns with microaggressions and racism on campus, and feeling socially isolated or lacking a sense of belonging. Others reported the prevalence of Euro-centric ways of knowing and thinking, and a lack of validation of lived experiences.
The findings of the students are summarized in nine recommendations which include acknowledgement of racism on campus to amplify anti-racism awareness; providing intentional supervision of racialized students; and creating more professional development opportunities for current and potential mentors and supervisors to better support racialized students.
These recommendations focus on the most impactful areas “where we can make a difference,” says Negar Khodarahmi, a PhD candidate and a co-author of the report. “Not one person, one office or one dean can make all these changes – it is a community effort.”
Graduate students mentioned in the report touch on this topic, noting that it is important that UBC continues to support these initiatives and make progress throughout the year – not just during a specific day or month, such as Black History Month.
The EMRGS initiative includes Negar Khodarahmi (PhD candidate, Human Development, Learning, and Culture), Dwayne Tucker (PhD candidate, Women+ and Children’s Health Sciences), Kelli Kadokawa (Staff, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies), Theresa Rogers (Professor, Faculty of Education) and Emi Sasagawa (Staff, Faculty of Arts).
UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) celebrates this student-led initiative supported by G+PS staff. We thank the group for this important work. G+PS is reviewing the recommendations and how the unit can best support racialized graduate students.