As universities and institutions of higher education seek to improve retention, persistence, well-being, and overall college experience satisfaction for their students, there is an increased emphasis on mentoring in higher education. Improving mentoring in higher education--the specific tools, training, and practices that develop effective mentors--remains an often-elusive goal for college administrators and university mentoring programs and in research. This research examined available research on effective mentoring and provided recommendations for how to create successful mentors and mentoring programs in higher education. This dissertation is a three-article format presentation of information about mentoring in higher education. The first article is a literature review of mentoring and higher education literature analyzing what makes an effective mentor and implications for practice. The review of 34 articles examined themes of impact of mentoring, role of mentor, and mentoring programs, as well as implications for practice for each theme. The review showed that more research is needed on mentoring and higher education, mentor training, and the perspective of mentors. The second article investigated mentoring in online learning environments. The survey research study analyzed responses from 143 online mentors from around the world in a global higher education initiative. Four mentoring domains were used for analysis. Online mentors reported they were most effective at providing emotional and psychological support for students. Study results showed mentor support for individual students outside the virtual classroom, strategies for student goal setting, characteristics of online role modeling, and mentor confidence in technology skills. The study also contributed findings to the literature about online mentoring benefits for nontraditional students, technology challenges, and online mentoring role adoption. The third article examined ongoing mentoring training. The qualitative study analyzed interview responses from 20 international in-person mentors in a global higher education initiative to discover how ongoing training affects mentors' abilities to assist higher education students in achieving their educational goals. Study results showed the benefits from ongoing mentoring training, the importance of volunteer mentoring needs in ongoing mentoring training, and the effects of mentoring training creativity. The study also showed that ongoing training positively impacts mentors, volunteers may need more training, and that ongoing training advanced effective mentoring practices. Successful mentoring can make a meaningful difference in students' lives. This research showed the impact of mentoring and its potential benefits in in-person and online learning environments. This research also showed the significance of effective mentoring programs and ongoing mentor training in mentoring.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





higher education, mentor, mentoring, online education, training, volunteer