Special Issue: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Undergraduate Research Mentoring (Fall 2023)

Equitable access to collaborative and critical mentoring that promotes student-driven intellectual property is paramount to dismantling participation disparities for Historically Underrepresented Minority (HURM) students across high-impact practices (HIPs). HURM students are members of groups that have numerically represented a minority of the U.S. population, while concurrently occupying educational spaces normed for White or majority students (Bourke, 2016). Persistent inequities in higher education point toward a need for intentional, comprehensive, and critical frameworks to understand and move the academy into a space that acknowledges, sustains, and thrives off critical, contextually driven engagement with concurrent infrastructural support. An increasing number of programs and empirical research document the profound and transformative experience of participating in undergraduate research for all students, especially students with marginalized and historically excluded backgrounds, such as those identified by race, gender, religion, sexuality, and socioeconomic status (e.g., NASEM, 2017; Slovacek et al., 2012). High quality mentoring is pivotal to maximizing and democratizing the benefits from undergraduate research (Shanahan, 2018; Shanahan et al., 2017). However, best practices for creating inclusive and equitable mentoring models (Longmire-Avital, 2020a; Longmire-Avital, 2020b) in addition to effective, programmatic infrastructure for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI; Pierszalowski, Smith, & López-Cevallos, 2020; Pierszalowski, Vue, & Bouwma-Gearhart, 2018) are just beginning to emerge.

The continued increase of nuanced and dynamic expressions of diversity within the U.S. population demand that constituents of higher education thoughtfully examine and critically reflect on integration of DEI principles and the configuration of signature experiences intended to bolster student outcomes and success. In this call, we ask contributors to address the needs of accessible and visible dialogue regarding the centering of DEI practices in undergraduate research mentoring. Specifically, we are looking for manuscripts that

  • Describe innovative ways of recruiting undergraduate researchers from historically marginalized [excluded] backgrounds
  • Document and/or evaluate plans for sustaining DEI efforts in undergraduate research-related programming
  • Highlight best practices or lessons learned in supporting and developing a mentoring infrastructure with attention to DEI in undergraduate research through the following structures:
    • Institutional responsibility and commitment
    • Intentional program design approaches
    • Innovative and effective mentoring practices
  • Address needs for training mentors to be aware of and commit to inclusive practices, such as offering implicit bias training and helping mentors balance advocacy with student empowerment
  • Identify challenges, barriers, and solutions to equitable participation in undergraduate research experiences
  • Outline institutional and programmatic incentives and motivations for effective and inclusive mentoring

Authors are encouraged to submit case studies, practitioner pieces (e.g., program descriptions or novel idea descriptions), literature reviews, or original empirical research studies. Submissions may have student authors or co-authors. For more information about the types of articles accepted by PURM, please visit the website at https://www.elon.edu/u/academics/undergraduate-research/purm/for-authors/.

PURM is an open-access, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed online journal supporting the mission of undergraduate research and the programs that strive to provide undergraduate students opportunities to participate in scholarly activities with faculty mentors. PURM’s unique focus on the process of undergraduate research and mentoring rather than the products of these activities provides a space for the growing undergraduate research community to share experiences, opportunities, concerns, and challenges in a rigorous, professional venue.

To be considered for the Special Issue of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Undergraduate Research Mentoring, to be published in Fall 2023, manuscripts must be received by July 1, 2023. Full submission guidelines may be found at https://www.elon.edu/u/academics/undergraduate-research/purm/for-authors/. Any questions regarding PURM, the submission and review process, or article inquiries for the Special Issue may be directed to Drs. Buffie Longmire-Avital, Sophie Pierszalowski, and Jenny Shanahan (PURM.T@elon.edu). All other inquiries may be directed to Dr. Qian Xu, Editor-in-Chief of PURM (qxu@elon.edu).


Bourke, B. (2016). Meaning and implications of being labelled a predominantly White institution. College and University, 91(3), 12.

Longmire-Avital, B. (2020a, April 2). Critical Mentoring is Custom Fitted to the Student. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.centerforengagedlearning.org/Critical-Mentoring-is-Custom-Fitted-to-the-Student/

Longmire-Avital, B. (2020b, July 2). Critical Mentoring in HIPs: A Reparative Framework [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.centerforengagedlearning.org/Critical-Mentoring-in-HIPs-A-Reparative-Framework

National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). (2017). Undergraduate Research Experiences for STEM Students: Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Pierszalowski S, Smith F, & López-Cevallos D. (2020). Research experiences for all undergraduate students? Building a more equitable and inclusive office of undergraduate research at a land-grant institution. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 52(6), 38-47.

Pierszalowski, S. P., Vue, R., & Bouwma-Gearhart, J. (2018). Overcoming barriers in access to high quality education after matriculation: Promoting strategies and tactics for engagement of underrepresented groups in undergraduate research via institutional diversity action plans. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 19(1).

Shanahan, J. O. (2018). Mentoring Strategies that Support Underserved Students in Undergraduate Research. In J. Moore, M. VandermaasPeeler, & P. Miller (Eds.), Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research (pp. 43-76). Council on Undergraduate Research.

Shanahan, J., Walkington, H., Ackley, E., Hall, E., & Stewart, K. (2017). Award-winning mentors see democratization as the future of undergraduate research. Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, 37, 4–11.

Slovacek, S., Whittinghill, J., Flenoury, L., & Wiseman, D. (2012). Promoting minority success in the sciences: The minority opportunities in research programs at CSULA. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49, 199–217.