Podium Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Just Another Dot On The Map? A Qualitative Investigation Of The Functional Roles Of Mentors In Higher Education (#45)

Veronica Fruiht 1
  1. Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA, United States

Mentorship has been linked to academic success and well-being among college students (Hurd et al., 2016). However, more resourced students with better-educated parents are more likely to have mentors than their lower SES peers (Erickson et al., 2009), exacerbating the opportunity gap in higher education. In light of this gap, some universities strive for equity by using a ‘holistic advising’ model, assigning formal on-campus mentors to each student. The present qualitative study investigated the naturally occurring developmental networks and formal on-campus mentoring relationships of first-year college students at a small private university. Paired dyads of students (N = 6) and their formal, non-academic mentors (N = 6) were interviewed about the nature of their relationships. Results highlight the mechanisms by which mentors support students and how these relationships fit into students’ existing developmental networks. Findings demonstrate individual differences in the perceived value of socio-emotional, cognitive, and identity support among students, contributing to a growing body of literature about socio-economic and racial disparities in mentoring functions received by youth (Raposa et al., 2018). Finally, mentor-protégé dyad data highlight the differences in perceptions of what educators feel they provide to their protégés and students’ perceptions of the value of these relationships.