Date of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Second Advisor

Betty Taylor

Third Advisor

Brian Gerrard

Abstract

Expectations and Experiences of Undergraduate Students Who Participated in an Alumni Mentoring Program

Research on mentoring with undergraduate university students has been a topic of increasing interest, although most of the focus has been on faculty to student mentoring (Ehrich, Hansford, & Tennet, 2004; Lunsford, 2011; Putsche, Storrs, Lewis, & Haylett, 2010; Underhill, 2005). Other types of mentoring with undergraduate university students, such as mentoring relationships with alumni have been investigated very little, causing a gap in the available knowledge on this topic. The purpose of this research was to understand the expectations and experiences of undergraduate university students being mentored by alumni in a mentoring program coordinated by a university career center.

To conduct this qualitative research, information was gathered through interviews with undergraduate university students. Questions explored what factors guided students in choosing their alumni mentors, what they hoped the mentoring experience would provide, and what insights they gained during and after completion of their mentoring relationships. Additionally, an observation of a program orientation was conducted and survey data collected by the mentoring program was examined. This research filled the gap of existing knowledge on mentoring by exploring the experiences of undergraduate students being mentored by alumni.

Study results indicated the majority of participants sought career and academic related information from their alumni mentors. University students' interactions with their mentors included university-specific information at times which students' felt was helpful. Interview responses indicated students' experiences with their alumni mentors were positive as the career and academic information they sought was satisfactorily provided to them. Comments from students after their mentoring experiences included feeling more confident, having greater career clarity, and feeling less anxious in the present by knowing more about possible future career directions. These comments were consistent with some of Chickering and Reisser's (1993) identity development vectors. Similarly, students' focus on gaining career information from their mentors was consistent with Kram's (1985) mentoring career support function.

The study concluded that university students in a mentoring program with alumni primarily sought career and academic related information, which they received to their satisfaction, meeting their expectations and creating a positive experience upon reflection of the mentoring program.

Share

COinS