Mentor Name:
Tiffany Baffour

Mentor Position:
Associate Professor


Social Work


Project Description:

**This project is a part of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), which provides undergraduate students with an intensive 10-week research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member. SPUR 2022 begins on May 25 and ends on August 4. If you are interested in this project, please review all program information on the SPUR site. If you wish to apply to this project, you must apply using the SPUR 2022 application.**

In the United States, higher education systems often fail to meet the needs of today’s diverse students and faculty. Students from historically underrepresented groups seeking higher education are more likely to experience poverty as well as housing and food insecurity (Diamond, & Stebleton, 2017;), potentially making opportunities for academic success more challenging. Furthermore, faculty from historically underrepresented groups commonly experience inequalities in work demands. For example, “the growing number of students of color and the continued underrepresentation of nonwhites as tenure-track faculty in higher education means that nonwhite faculty must respond to much greater student demands for mentoring, role modeling and counseling than their white colleagues do — particularly around issues of race and racism on campuses ” (Rucks-Ahidiana, 2019 p. 1). Although racial equity has finally entered the discourse in higher education, there has been little progress in developing and implementing sustainable anti-racist practices nationally that facilitate improved organizational outcomes for faculty and students of color as well as the preparation of all students to successfully interact in diverse workplaces and social settings. Organizational opportunities to facilitate anti-racism in higher education include inclusive curricula, faculty development protocols (hiring, retention, promotion and tenure, funding, pay equity, pedagogical strategies), and equity-minded student development strategies (recruitment, retention, scholarships/funding).

Opportunity Type:

This is a paid research position

Student Role:

Very little is currently known about how anti-racism trainings improve outcomes in higher education settings. A scoping review can be an effective strategy as its design represents a methodology that allows for assessment of emerging evidence. Further, scoping reviews represent a complex methodological approach. It is useful in mapping current evidence, identifying gaps in the literature and making important assessments about future research needs (Munn, 2018). The student selected to participate in the study will have the opportunity to garner research development and grant writing skills and serve as co-author for peer-reviewed manuscripts. Research Skill Development: Student will work closely with the faculty mentor in developing the skills to conduct a scoping review. These include: Working with the mentor to detail inclusion and exclusion criteria for the study; Conduct reference list scanning; Conduct grey literature searching of unpublished studies in consultation with library staff; Work with a small team of researchers under the leadership of the faculty mentor to screen titles and abstracts of the identified sources that meet inclusion criteria for the study; and Keep a record of the characteristics of the included studies and the key information relevant to the research question(s) and stud. Grant Writing and Publication Opportunities Research grant writing opportunities and assist with grant writing regarding anti-racism training in higher education and other closely allied areas; Research scope and focus of social work and higher education journals that potentially fit the research project; Assist with writing up study results which could lead to co-authored publication.

Student Benefits:

Student Benefits The student selected to participate in the study will have the opportunity to garner research development skills, professional development opportunities, grant writing skills as well as opportunities to submit co-authored publications in peer-reviewed social science journals. Student Outcomes Demonstrate increased confidence in their ability to conduct research, and to contribute to the knowledge base of social work, higher education and/or a similar field; Develop collegial working relationship with a faculty member with over twenty years of teaching, research and mentoring experience; Enhance written and oral communication and information retrieval skills; Engage in and appreciate the importance of professional development.

Project Duration:

35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities, begins May 25, 2022, and ends August 4, 2022

Minimum Requirements:

Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 1) be a matriculated, degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2022 semester (beginning or continuing college career in Fall 2022 and not graduating before December 2022; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement). Applicants do not need to be a University of Utah student. 2) eligible to work in the United States: If you are a University of Utah Dreamer (with or without DACA), you are eligible to participate. U Dreamers with DACA will be hired and paid through U payroll. U Dreamers without DACA who graduated from a Utah high school will be compensated via a different mechanism. If you are a Dreamer from a different institution: If you have DACA, you are eligible to participate and will be hired and paid though U payroll. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but we do not currently have a mechanism that allows us to compensate you. For more information, please contact Megan Shannahan at megan.shannahan@utah.edu or 801-581-2478. If you are an international student or scholar, you must either a) be a degree-seeking undergraduate student at the University of Utah, OR b) possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). 3) able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (May 25-August 4, 2022). 4) at least 18 years old by May 23, 2022 (required if you wish to use on-campus housing; preferred if you will not be using on-campus housing).