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ERIC Number: ED558249
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 176
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-0001-6
Mentoring in Student Affairs: An Interpretive Study of Experiences and Relationships
Williams, Amanda Leigh
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
New professionals in student affairs enter the field motivated and ready to start their new careers (Olyha, 2004), though 50-60% of new professionals end up leaving the field before they complete their fifth year of employment (Renn & Hodges, 2007). Mentoring is a suggested strategy to help with retaining professionals in the workplace (Beecroft, Santner, Lacy, Kunzman, & Dorey, 2006; Blank & Sindelar, 1992; Chao, 2009; Eby & Lockwood, 2004; Ehrich, Hansford, & Tennent, 2004; Hallam & Newton-Smith, 2006; Leners, Wilson, Connor, & Fenton, 1996; Payne & Huffman, 2005; Tull, 2009). The purpose of this study was to explore the mentoring relationships of new professionals in student affairs and gain an understanding of how mentoring functions influence their career development and intent to remain in the field. Using Kram's Mentoring Role Theory and Chao et al.'s dimensions of socialization as lenses through which to view the experiences of the participants, this study sought to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the mentoring experiences of new professionals in student affairs? (2) How do new professionals in student affairs perceive their mentoring experiences? (3) In what ways do new professionals in student affairs experience the career functions expected through a mentoring experience? (4) In what ways do new professionals in student affairs experience the psychosocial functions expected through a mentoring experience? This study employed a basic interpretive qualitative research design. Data were collected through interviews, journal prompts and participant resumes. Themes emerged from the findings of the study that revealed the areas in which new professionals in student affairs perceive mentoring to influence their career development and career intentions. The overarching themes included benefits of mentoring, challenges of mentoring, and success in the profession. Each of the three primary categories also encompasses a number of themes that further help describe the mentoring experiences of the participants. The reflections and experiences of new professionals in student affairs who have been in the field for more than five years and have had the opportunity to be involved in a mentoring relationship are important as we endeavor to understand the process and the outcomes of mentoring experiences. This study highlights how mentoring experiences can lead to confidence, professionalism, career advancement, and staff retention. Kram (1985) noted that mentoring takes place along a continuum and each relationship is unique. The participants in this study had positive career and psychosocial outcomes that contributed to their skills, knowledge and socialization into the field. The findings of this study align with existing literature on mentoring and expand the student affairs literature by providing awareness into the mentoring relationships and experiences of new professionals in student affairs, including discussion about the participant's future career intentions. Though it is not the only strategy for attrition and professional development, this study demonstrated that mentoring can be a dominant aspect of career development and staff retention in student affairs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A