Master of Science
Jennifer Lucko, PhD
Katherine Lewis, PhD
Matthew E. Davis, PhD
Mentorship for historically underserved undergraduate students at their institutions of higher education is a much-studied area of research (Crisp et al., 2017). Existing research has explored how students’ individual aspects of identity impact their access to mentoring (Crisp, 2009; Lund et al., 2019). However, there is a lack of research that studies access to mentoring for the whole student, particularly at small liberal arts schools like TU. Intersectionality has been recognized as an important concept (Crenshaw, 1991) which this study drew on to understand how identity impacts mentorship (Bass, 2012).
I conducted a transformative mixed methods case study, which involved the collection, analysis, and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data. Student participants responded to a question series presented in survey, interview, and focus group format. Administrator and staff leader participants responded to a single question series presented in interview format. All questions were formed based on the following central questions: (1) How do underserved undergraduate students access mentoring at a specific institution (TU) using an equity model of Integrative Coaching and other mentoring programs? (2) What factors contribute to undergraduate students’ engagement in Integrative Coaching and other mentoring programs? (3) How does mentoring, through Integrative Coaching and other sources, meet the varied needs of diverse students?
The findings show that, when they understand how to access mentorship and believe that their needs will be met by a mentoring relationship in which they experience fit, diverse undergraduate students access mentorship from different sources: themselves, peers, and staff or faculty. Finally, the study illuminated both short-term and long-term opportunities to enhance the student experience of mentoring including effective messaging about mentorship, creating a central location on campus where students know they can access a variety of support, the inclusion of mentorship as a High-Impact Practice, and a general movement towards removing problematic silos at institutions of higher education.