Mentoring in the University Context
Mentoring relationships have been proven to be important in the academic setting. More precisely, Lyons & Scroggins (1990) asserted that graduate students who had a faculty mentor viewed the relationship as a central highlight of the graduate school experience. Mentoring was a pivotal tool used by graduate students to aid in their persistence to degree attainment and career decisions (Lyons & Scroggins, 1990).
In a case study analyzing mentoring processes between faculty and students conducted by Valadez and Duran (1991), the researchers determined that these relationships have very effective results in making students more prepared for higher level scholarly research. In a prior study conducted by Cronan-Hillix (1986) two major findings were brought forth: a) a positive correlation existed between having a mentoring relationship and the number of published articles by a student, and b) having a mentor provided for higher visibility on campus and led to more involvement in professional undertakings. Other researchers have supported these claims in finding that mentoring is a critical factor in the academic success of students.
Thirty years ago, Vartuli (1982) stated that graduate students needed “webs of support” in order to complete the graduate process and if these webs did not exist or dissipated during the process, then the graduate student had significantly more difficulty than those who had constructed functioning and reliable webs of support. It appears that this assertion still holds true for students entering graduate school.
A large body of work concerning mentoring in higher education was assembled by Jacobi in 1991. In her work, she divides mentoring models into three distinct groups: emotional and psychological support, academic and social integration, and scholarly and career development. It is her contention that each of these groups has a direct bearing on how mentoring is implemented within the university milieu (Jacobi, 1991).
In our next post, we will look at issues of race and gender within the university context and how it interplays in the mentoring matrix.
Cronan-Hillix, T., Davidson, W. S., Cronan-Hillix, W. A., & Gensheimer, L. K. (1986). Student’s views of mentors in psychology graduate training. Teaching of Psychology, 13, 123–127.
Jacobi, M. (1991) Mentoring and undergraduate academic success: a literature review, Review of Educational Research, 61, 505–532.
Lyons, W. & Scroggins, D. (1990). The mentor in graduate education. Studies in Higher Education, 15(3), 277-285.