Online Dissertation Chairs’ Perceptions: Reflective Mentoring Practices and Changing Student Cross Cultural and Generational Worldviews

Online Dissertation Chairs’ Perceptions: Reflective Mentoring Practices and Changing Student Cross Cultural and Generational Worldviews

The focus of my Fellow Research was online dissertation chairs’ perceptions on the role of reflective mentoring practices and changing student cross cultural and generational worldviews.  Participants in this study were online educational leadership dissertation chairs. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to examine how online dissertation chairs’ perceive the role of reflective mentoring practices and changing student cross cultural and generational worldviews.  The research question used to guide the study was How do online dissertation chairs’ perceive the role of reflective mentoring practices and changing student cross cultural and generational worldviews?  Online doctoral deans may use this study to promote student centered reflective mentoring. 

The themes that emerged were a lack of identification and reflection on cultural and generational differences, emotional ties, and big picture personal growth.  Sub themes were shepherding and guides. The implications were online higher education leaders need to prepare online chairs for the changing needs of Millennial online doctoral students who were born after 1980 and Generation Z online students who were born after 1990 to 2004.  

Recommendations for Leaders

                Participants failed to demonstrate that reflecting on generational needs of dissertation students was part of online chairs’ reflective mentoring processes.  Hence, online doctoral university deans need to begin facilitating discussions with chairs about the possible change process needed based on Millennial and Generation Z research. Online chairs may need to extend reflective mentoring practices to include emerging student cultural and generational worldviews.

 Recommendations for Future Research

The findings in this qualitative exploratory study were based on the perceptions of a small sample of online chairs.  A limitation of this qualitative case study was the study cannot be generalized to a larger group. Participant responses were analyzed for themes and patterns.  Further quantitative research may be needed to survey a large number of online chairs and Millennial and Generation Z doctoral students.  In a correlational study, possible relationships between online chairs and emerging cross cultural and generational students to determine if a statistical significance exists could be measured.  Additionally, as practitioners, online chairs may want to engage in action research on reflective mentoring.  Online chairs mainly reflect on personal success and creating lasting relationships.  Hence, higher education leaders must prepare online chairs for the change process and how to proactively promote more student centered reflective mentoring based on generational differences.