Mentorship in a small private university

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Deborah Briley Burris (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Leila Villaverde

Abstract: Using qualitative exploratory research methodology, I sought to explore the first stage implementation of a university-based initiative aimed at creating an undergraduate culture of mentorship at a small liberal arts institution. Initially formulated in 2014, the initiative was officially underway by the fall of 2016, at which point I commenced this study. I used face-to-face interviews to collect primary data from participating mentors and mentees, supplementing that data with information obtained from document analysis methods and researcher field notes. The following research questions underscored the study: 1. How do faculty and students currently understand the mentor/mentee relationship and its purpose? 2. How does the culture of mentorship initiative impact the lives of traditional undergraduate students at Private University? 3. How are mentors affected by the mentor/mentee relationship as implemented in the university’s mentorship initiative? 4. Does the mentorship initiative demonstrate the theoretical frameworks of subjectification, self-authorship, and transformational learning? If so, how? Findings suggest that the mentor/mentee experience had proven meaningful for both parties; that participants invested seriously in the relationship. A chief concern that emerged from the study involved the ways in which students were initiated into a community of this nature; as such, suggesting that a more effective means for communicating expectations of student mentees—as prospective, first year, or transfer students—should be a high priority in planning next steps. Relative to emergent mentor concerns, findings suggest that more effort should be made to balance faculty roles/obligations with the demands of the mentor role. Ultimately, the value of this study lies in (a) its openness to the experiences of mentors and mentees as they occur in the field for the first time; (b) its concurrent timing with the formal implementation of the initiative so as to capture the initial, dynamic nature of this process; and (c) its potential to support ongoing/future studies of the mentorship initiative. Finally, I suggest that longitudinal studies dedicated to the culture of mentorship initiative would be useful in exploring its developmental aspects (for mentee and mentor) specific to this study’s theoretical grounding in the concepts of subjectification, self-authorship, and transformational learning.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Mentorship, Self-Authorship, Transformational Learning
Mentoring in education
Transformative learning
Teacher-student relationships
Private universities and colleges

Email this document to