Faculty Mentoring of Undergraduate Students: A Qualitative Phenomenological Study

Faculty Mentoring of Undergraduate Students: A Qualitative Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Cassandra L. Giles
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
Undergraduate students experience many challenges obtaining degrees, and when they fail, it has a negative effect on society. Faculty mentoring may assist students with many problems obtaining degrees, including the lack of basic study skills, time management, writing, communicating, networking, and collaboration skills. In a qualitative phenomenological study of faculty mentoring undergraduate students, 20 participants accepted interview opportunities regarding personal experiences and perceptions in the collegiate environment. Three groups of participants were undergraduate students, faculty, and affiliates. Using a stratified method of sampling, the sample size was 15 participants with no less than five in each group. Diversity in experience, or time of interaction within the undergraduate environment, existed within each group and participant interviews consisted of 10 open-ended questions. The results indicated similarities and differences between the groups, specific challenges that undergraduate students face in obtaining degrees, and solutions in helping students overcome the challenges. Participants indicated that faculty, as mentors, are a significant solution to mentoring because they work closely with students on classwork and guidelines of the course syllabus. Results indicated that all groups experienced busy schedules and favored enhanced communication using technology to assist students and faculty in mentoring relationships. Because of the fast-paced undergraduate learning environment, communication strategies with faculty as mentors can help students overcome the lack of basic college skills needed to complete degrees successfully.
Dedication: 
I thank God for the wisdom afforded me throughout my life and the ability to inspire and receive inspiration from others. I am grateful and dedicate my dissertation to all who took part in offering comfort, encouragement, collaboration, and determination to help me stay on task. Loving and special thanks to my husband Alvin Sr., daughter Allison, and son Alvin Jr. (Antoinette, Little Adaeze, & Alvin III due in September), who endured this process with me. This dedication is for my mother Alice M. Kelly, who worked tirelessly to help our family exceed in our goals and objectives; thank you for standing by me my entire life. To my father, the late Otha L. Kelly who taught me humility and respect for others and his legacy lives forever through my brothers Ronald, Roger (Gwen), Ryan (Kim), Raymer (Katrena), their children and I. To my wonderful Aunt Mary E. Stoves and Uncle Leslie J. Stoves II: thank you for your encouragement and support that you graciously delivered throughout my entire life. Thank you to my extended family, friends, cousins, cohorts, and all who advised and inspired me to pursue my dreams. Many times, it was your belief in me that kept me vigilant and on the path to achieving my goals. Learning in this process has opened my thoughts to many ideas on creating value in our societies. My best and most enlightening learning experiences have revealed that scholarship is life-long and the wisdom to know that my journey has just begun. In grateful appreciation, thank you all!
Acknowledgements: 
I acknowledge Dr. Patricia A. D’Urso, my mentor and dissertation committee chair; thank you for your mentorship and learning opportunities. Your expertise, direction, support, and guidance helped me understand many tasks and kept me focused on the road ahead. I am grateful and appreciative of your time and experience in advising me through this outstanding and rigorous process. I acknowledge my dissertation committee members, Dr. Dennis White and Dr. Steve Roussas, your guidance, support, direction, and expertise are amazing. I learned that hard work forges many opportunities of learning, and I appreciate the time you spent helping me through this eye opening process. University of Phoenix and faculty have provided me tremendous opportunities of learning in graduate, doctorate, and teaching programs. I appreciate all of the doors opened to me because of this phenomenal university, and as I continue teaching and learning, I find joy in giving back and helping students successfully achieve their educational goals.