The formation and impact of formal and informal mentoring upon undergraduate academic performance and attitudes
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The following work investigates the state of undergraduate mentoring at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in January 2013. It goes on to investigate the impacts of those mentoring experiences on students' academic performance as measured by Dean's List attainment and graduation. The primary source for data is a researcher-designed survey that was administered to over 1000 undergraduates. It also uses publicly available records obtained from SIU-C. After a survey of relevant literature, the construction and administration of the survey are presented as well as what records were obtained from SIU-C. This is followed by a presentation of the dataset as a whole, with emphasis on how representative it is of the undergraduate student body. Summary statistics and correlations of explanatory variables are provided. The document then presents three chapters of empirical analysis. These three chapters all follow a pattern of first establishing the research questions and hypotheses to be investigated, an exploration of data that particularly applies to this section of analysis, and a brief explanation of the major methodology followed. Each empirical chapter finishes by showing how each hypothesis was specifically investigated, the results obtained, and a discussion on the validity and application of those results. Avenues of future research are also presented when applicable. The first empirical chapter delves into what type of student receives what type of mentoring. The document contributes to the literature in its investigation of how previous mentoring experiences impact the incidence and type of mentoring utilized by students at the university level. The next section looks services provided by mentors and how these impact a student’s attitude about the institution and their place in it. Finally, the investigation turns to how mentoring impacts academic performance. The primary measure of academic performance is the attainment of the Dean's List, a measure not seen in previous literature. The document ends with a brief conclusion where policy ramifications are discussed. The extensive appendix included empirical tables not included in the text of the document, human subject committee approval, and the survey and its consent form.
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