A Descriptive Study of Undergraduate Mentoring at a Mid-Western Research University
University of Kansas
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
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This study explored undergraduate mentoring programs at a mid-western research university. The purpose of this study was to describe mentoring programs and to gain a better understanding of how mentoring is defined and implemented by program administrators. The sample for this study consisted of administrators of mentoring programs at a mid-western research university, who were interviewed about how they define mentoring. Specifically, the study used qualitative research methods to address research questions related to the definition of mentoring, the components of each program, how mentoring programs were evaluated, and any recommendations administrators had. Results showed that the definition of mentoring is vague among administrators of mentoring programs, the quality and quantity of components such as office support staff and funds for food are important, objectives are important in guiding which population of students each program’s mentors serve, and everything in a mentoring program should be focused on building close relationships between mentors (faculty or peer) and students. Online platforms such as PeopleGrove and BrazenCareers have become more popular and prevalent among administrators of mentoring programs. While not able to fully replace long-term, in-depth relationships between a mentor and student, platforms offer efficient tools to match potential mentors with students and convenient ways of communicating electronically, like video chat features. Such tools allow programs to save time and to focus on crucial components such as face-to-face meetings, seminars, conferences, etc. In the future administrators of mentoring programs should use a combination of new, time-saving, technologies and traditional, time-intensive, practices for building relationships between mentors and students.
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