Date of Award

8-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Michael Robinson

Second Supervisor

Jennifer Schulman

Abstract

The United States is in an educational crisis. Far too many of our students do not attend college, let alone graduate once they attend. While there are many factors that influence whether a student will attend college and subsequently graduate, mentoring has been identified as a worthwhile support that influences retention and graduation rates of undergraduate students. Unfortunately, many students who can avail themselves of free mentoring supports do not take advantage of what is offered. The study investigated the factors that influence student non-participation in an undergraduate mentoring program at a small private college in New York State. A theory of student involvement, the theory of academic and social integration and the theory of the hierarchy of needs were found to be relevant theories that relate to student participation in mentoring. Mixed methods research provided investigation of students’ and mentors’ perspectives through focus groups and interviews. A survey to non-participating students provided insight into the importance of identified factors that influence student non-participation. The findings indicate that there are numerous factors that influence students’ disengagement from mentoring. Mentor-mentee relationships, students’ need for independence, lack of available time, mentoring processes and non-registration for the semester all influence mentoring involvement. The study also gleaned information from mentors and staff members. Academic and social integration were identified as influential factors. Given the value of mentoring to student involvement and retention, v focus on the relationship, processes and students’ needs will benefit current and future mentoring programs.

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