Open Access Dissertation
Mentoring in education--Middle West--Public opinion; Graduate students--Middle West--Attitudes;
Originated from Mentor, a wise counselor to Ulysses and then teacher and protector to Ulysses' son Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey, the word mentoring now means teacher, advisor, sponsor and role model (Jacobi, 1991). The mentoring literature now characterizes this type of mentoring as informal or traditional mentoring that has been found to be very beneficial to doctoral students (Heinrich, 1995; Holland, 1995; Lyons, Scroggins & Rule, 1990; Schlosser, Knox, Moskovitz, & Hill, 2003). The purpose of this study was to investigate informal faculty mentoring at the master's degree level, namely the extent to which informal faculty mentoring activities were happening, the way these activities happened, and the impact these activities produced on mentored students as reported by mentored students themselves.
The study was guided by three research questions which are: (1) What types of informal faculty mentoring activities are happening in the master's degree programs of a regional university? (2) How helpful are the mentoring activities perceived by students? (3) What are the situational and personal factors associated with the happening of informal mentoring relationships? It was conducted in two phases: (a) pilot study and (b) survey. The pilot study was used to validate the survey instrument for this research. A mixed methodology was used in the form of a self-designed survey with a combination of open-ended and close-ended questions. Analysis was done by using the descriptive function of the SPSS software after the data was cleaned and text responses coded.
It was found that master's degree students did experience a wide range of informal faculty mentoring activities in three respects, namely, in the academic, the career and professional, and the psychosocial dimensions. These informal faculty mentoring activities have produced varying but mostly positive impact on the students. The interaction in a mentoring relationship is mostly initiated due to the respect either paid to the faculty or mutually between faculty members and graduate protégés, students' commitment to the program or professional goals, and students' ability to perform.
Then practical recommendations were made to utilize the findings of this research. For example, reported informal faculty mentoring activities could be used to describe the kinds of interactions that are currently happening between faculty members and master's degree students. The perceived impact of these reported experiences offers an opportunity to compare these experienced activities to their perceived impact which will then help reveal students' true needs. The dynamics questions, on the other hand would aid in directing our attention to the occasions or factors that have contributed to the occurrence of the experienced beneficial mentoring relationships.
Year of Submission
Doctor of Education
Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education
Michael Waggoner, Chair
1 PDF file (ix, 132 pages)
©2011 Nangai Yang
Yang, Nangai, "Master students' perception of informal faculty mentoring : an explorative investigation" (2011). Dissertations and Theses @ UNI. 631.