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Ten Years Later: A Study of the Experiences of Nontraditional Women Students Who Succeeded in a Community College Setting with the Help of a Mentor Program

Bradford, Gyndolyn (2017) Ten Years Later: A Study of the Experiences of Nontraditional Women Students Who Succeeded in a Community College Setting with the Help of a Mentor Program. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The idea of mentoring in higher education is generally considered a good thing for students and faculty. What is missing in the research is how does mentoring influence and shape the student experience, does mentoring help retention, and how does it contribute to student development? (Crisp, Baker, Griffin, Lunsford, Pifer, 2017). In the United States, post-secondary educational institutions have begun to adopt mentoring as one of a group of student services offered to promote retention and academic success. The subject of this study is a group of nontraditional women students who participated in a mentoring cohort at a large community college in Pennsylvania. Members of the cohort participated in an earlier study (Phase I), which revealed that after graduating from the community college with associates’ degrees the students felt that their mentoring experience was a major contributor to their retention through graduation, and also prepared them to pursue additional academic credentials and begin professional careers.

The current research revisited the cohort participants ten years after graduation from the community college to document their experiences in the mentor program from their current perspective. The study also provided insight into the lasting positive effects of the mentoring program; to identify how the students’ views about mentoring evolved with greater work and academic experience; and how this information can be used to identify opportunities for improving future mentoring programs for nontraditional women students at the community college; and to identify important factors that need to be addressed in the design of future mentoring programs. The participants recommended that the cohort format be emphasized for the development of new relationships to promote peer support, establish academic study groups, and alleviate barriers that hinder nontraditional women from completing a college degree.

The author further recommends that to assure the consistent quality of a program designed to accommodate the participants’ success criteria and to collect performance metrics, a management team must be dedicated to working with a frequently shifting population of mentors and student participants. Implications for the community college include expanding the availability of mentoring and addressing the special needs of nontraditional women students with a comprehensive package of student services and support systems that complement the mentoring program, including life skills, academic preparedness, career advisement, orientation, decision-making skills, time management for work, school and home, and career and personal counseling.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bradford, Gyndolyngbradford@ccac.edugybst
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWeidman, Johnjweidman@pitt.edujweidman
Committee MemberTrovato, Charlenetrovoto@pitt.edutrovato
Committee MemberSutin, Stewardssutin@pitt.edussutin
Committee MemberFerketish, Jeanferkjean@pitt.eduferkjean
Date: 22 May 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 March 2017
Approval Date: 22 May 2017
Submission Date: 21 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 165
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: mentoring, nontraditional, women, community college
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 18:31
Last Modified: 22 May 2017 18:31


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