Title

Action Research to Enhance the Northbound University College of Business Administration Mentorship Program

Date of Award

5-6-2023

Degree Name

Ed.D. in Educational Administration

Department

Department of Educational Administration

Advisor/Chair

James Olive

Abstract

The creation and implementation of holistic educational experiences is invaluable for optimal student and staff development and retention in an institution of higher education. This dissertation involves a participatory action research on one such mechanism: mentorship. This study on mentorship leverages Tinto's (1975 - 2014) theoretical frameworks regarding student integration, aiming to strengthen the Northbound University (NU) student bonds with the collegiate community so that they complete their college career at NU and potentially bridge the gap between degree attainment and professional pursuits as well. A mixed methods approach with qualitative and quantitative data analytics was utilized to define and develop learnings about mentorship. The study focused on students at the NU College of Business Administration (CBA). The population of students studied was bifurcated into two main groups because of their markedly differing needs. The first group included at-risk students whom I referred to as "fledgling eaglets." Fledgling eaglets were beset by challenges such as financial burdens, academic shortcomings, and university administrative problems. I called the second group of students "soaring eagles." Soaring eagles were more established high potential students who were seeking solutions about possible professions ahead of their college commitments. Both these student groups needed to "matter" in the college cooperative. They needed to feel individually integrated and welcomed into the extended family in the university society. My findings resulted in initial interventions that addressed the needs of these two student groups with differing needs. For fledgling eaglets, I included innovative mentorship program features that involved development of academic skillsets in conjunction with contingent financial awards with requisite training. The concurrent but separate soaring eagle program incorporated professional networking and realistic career building opportunities. Furthermore, the soaring eagles suggested enhancements were needed for the current program, but not a total rebuild. Both programs included components that emphasized the concept of student relevance as key members of the university's social system. Since this dissertation embraces the continual recursive improvement practices borne out of an action research, the NU CBA mentorship program will continually be evaluated and enhanced over its projected three-year horizon. Ultimately, it is expected that NU and even the larger society will benefit as a function of the enhanced student persistence to complete their college courses and eventually become productive citizens after graduation. In addition, I am hopeful that the improved mentorship program established for the NU CBA might be applied to different colleges at Northbound. This university-wide program expansion could result in more students saved via well-designed and intelligently implemented local mentorship models. This would help solve the problem of practice in this dissertation about the need for NU CBA mentorship renewal to improve NU CBA's retention rate and enhance NU's regional preeminence as well. With proper care, the learnings from this study could serve as a basis for mentorships at similarly-constituted institutions of higher learning.

Keywords

Higher Education, Academic Guidance Counseling, Department of Educational Administration., Educational Theory, Higher Education, Academic Guidance Counseling, Department of Educational Administration., Educational Theory

Rights Statement

Copyright 2023, author

COinS