Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

James Eison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Valerie Janesick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Young, Ed.D.


Teleological, Idiographic, Phenomenological, Orthogonal, Contextual Negotiation


In recent years, mentoring has emerged as a research domain, however, the preponderance of mentoring research has been situated first, in the business or organizational settings and second, in the K-12 educational setting, focusing on protégé experiences, using quantitative survey instruments to collect data. Thus, mentoring research literature includes a paucity of formal studies in the arena of graduate education.

Situated in the higher education setting, this study investigated the perspectives of faculty-mentors who provided mentoring to doctoral students who completed the doctoral degree, employing the qualitative research methodology known as phenomenology, as an orthogonal but complimentary epistemology to previous quantitative studies. Located specifically in the College of Education of a large research university, the study asked 262 College of Education doctoral graduates to nominate College of Education faculty who provided mentoring to them during their degree pursuit. A total of 59 faculty were nominated as mentors. Six of the most frequently nominated mentors participated in two semi-structured interviews (Berg, 2004).

The interviews addressed the mentor's experience of the mentoring endeavor, seeking to gather a description of their lived experience (Creswell, 1998) of mentoring and the meanings (Cohen & Omery, 1994) they garnered from it. The interviews yielded several shared perspectives on mentoring, including: a Gratifying Perspective, an Intentional Perspective, an Idiographic Perspective, a Teleological Perspective, and a Dynamic Perspective. Other noteworthy concepts that emerged from the mentors' data were: values, motivations, symbiotic relationship, and contextual negotiation. Implications for mentoring theory and practice as well as mentor development were described. The study contributed to development of a fuller phenomenological understanding of the perspectives of faculty-mentors in a mentoring relationship with doctoral students.