A qualitative study of the impact of mentoring relationships on the professional development of women in student affairs

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Finley, Jennifer Bissell
Mulvihill, Thalia M., 1963-
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Secondary, Higher, and Foundations of Education
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This qualitative study investigated the role mentoring plays in the professional development of women in student affairs. The goal of this research was not to prove a theory about women's mentoring relationships, but rather to richly describe these relationships in order to understand the impact they have had, and will continue to have on womens' professional lives. The results of this study is significant because it will provide a foundation for understanding the process of women's mentoring relationships in student affairs. The researcher conducted five indepth, open-ended interviews with women in various positions in student affairs in order to gather rich, descriptive data. The researcher selected women with whom she already has at least an acquaintance relationship. These women were from the Mid-West region. Each woman was at a different point in her professional development- graduate student, new professional, midlevel, and senior administrator. Women from both private and public institutions were interviewed. Four themes emerged from the interviews that each of these women discussed. These themes were, there are common characteristics of mentoring relationships; the impact mentoring has on the early development of the professional; the importance of having a female mentor; and the scarcity of female mentors at the top of the ladder.