Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Karen Burke, CSJ, EdD

Second Advisor

Aram Aslanian, PhD

Third Advisor

Michael Gilles, EdD

Fourth Advisor

Thomas Hébert, PhD

Abstract

Faculty mentor programs and other types of student advisory programs are a popular topic among educational leaders today. What drives their popularity is the need to personalize students’ learning experiences, a particular problem in large high schools and middle schools. Many studies have found that students who have at least one caring adult who knows them well are less likely to engage in at-risk behaviors. These students are often not only more academically successful, but are happier and healthier young adults.

While most educators are in agreement about the need for schools that offer students a personalized setting, how to best go about this often is debated. Many secondary schools have attempted to implement a faculty mentor program or similar student advisory program with mixed results. A lack of research on this topic further clouds the issue.

The study was designed to assess the potential benefits associated with a faculty mentor program. Four different instruments were used to measure 9th and 10th grade students’ attitudes, affiliation, and self-efficacy in a school which has a Faculty Mentor program and a similar school with no such program. The results of this study provide the educational community with data that will help guide choices regarding how best to personalize our schools and the efficiency of faculty mentor programs in providing enhanced educational programming for all students.

The primary instrument employed in this study was the Charles F. Kettering (CFK), Ltd., School Climate Profile. A one-way between-subjects multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was used to examine differences between two levels of the independent variable, students participating in a Faculty Mentor Program and students who did not participate in a mentor program. The dependent variables consisted of the 16 subscales on the CFK School Climate instrument. While many of the CFK subscales measure attitude, six in particular demonstrated the value of participation in the Faculty Mentor Program: High Morale, Cohesiveness, Effective Communications, Effective Teaching-Learning Strategies, Ability to Plan for the Future, and Identification and Working with Conflicts. Students in the treatment group scored significantly higher on each of these subscales when compared with the control group of students.

Additional follow-up data specific to the Faculty Mentor Program was provided through three other instruments. These were the Faculty Mentor Program Student Survey, Student interviews, and the Mentor Survey. The first two focused on student perceptions of how effective the Faculty Mentor Program was in meeting its objectives while the latter was specific to mentor perceptions of the same. In all three cases, the data collected on the Faculty Mentor Program showed that it was meeting many of its stated objectives.

It can be concluded that participation in a Faculty Mentor Program did, in part, positively impact students’ attitudes, affiliation, and self-efficacy.

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