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Faculty mentoring in residence halls: an experiential learning process




Jhaveri, Hemlata, author
Kuk, Linda, advisor
Banman, Nancy, committee member
Gloeckner, Gene W., committee member
McKelfresh, David, committee member

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As more demands are being placed on faculty inside of the classroom, the debate surrounding the feasibility of faculty having the time and resources to be involved outside the classroom continues. At the same time there is a growing concern that in light of current advancements in technology; oral communication skills, basic to human existence is going by the wayside and the ability to use the fire of conversation can no longer be taken for granted. Campuses also have the challenge of helping students develop their communication, life, and learning skills. In the 21st century, where information is instantly available 24/7 on the internet, critical thinking and life skills need to be stressed and developed (Marques, 2011). White (2011) recommended faculty mentors assist their student mentees in developing problem-solving skills, branching outside their comfort zone, addressing unfamiliar situations, and exploring further self-discovery by guiding versus doing it for them. The research design for this study utilized a large number of questions taken from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), to solicit feedback on student engagement on an institutional level, along with additional questions supplied by the researcher (referred to as non-NSSE constructs) in order to solicit student and faculty feedback on the impact of faculty mentoring on personal development and experiential learning. This comparative study explored the relationship between faculty mentoring and student engagement (i.e. NSSE constructs), and faculty mentoring and student development and learning (i.e. non-NSSE constructs) in an experiential learning environment (i.e. on-campus residence halls). Students who responded to the open ended question on the survey indicated that the mentor/mentee relationship impacted them in a significant way. Students' introspective comments are reflective and point to an in-depth personal and applied learning experience, where students with mentors found ways to integrate new information from mentors into their own experience. The theoretical population for this study included students living in an on-campus residence hall that offered a faculty mentoring program. Also, the survey sample population involved one public institution in each of the following states: Illinois, California, and Texas. The total number of participants involved in the study was 364. The results of the study suggest that faculty-student interaction outside of the classroom does have an impact on student's personal development and learning. Also, the research revealed that gender had a significant effect on sensitivity to diversity, effective communication, personal growth, personal and social development. Ethnicity had a significant effect on sensitivity to diversity, effective communication, personal growth, personal and social development, support for student success, and reflective learning. In addition, there are a number of practical implications based on the outcome of the survey that can be used by campuses wanting to implement a faculty mentor program or renew and revive an existing one.


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