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Development of a university alumnae mentoring program: A case study

Stephanie J Walker, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


In the past three decades, mentoring has become a formal and informal vehicle for empowering minorities—especially women—in both educational and corporate environments. Colleges and universities have established mentoring programs similar to those in the corporate sector to retain students and contribute to their academic and future success. More recently, mentoring organizations and programs for female university students and alumnae have appeared as academia has recognized the importance of enhancing opportunities for interaction between graduates and current students and the benefits derived from their alliances. ^ This study explored the stories and mentoring experiences of alumnae and undergraduate women participating in a mentoring program at a research university in the Midwestern region of the United States. The grand tour question that framed this study was: How do various stakeholders describe the development of one alumnae mentoring program and their involvement in it? ^ Qualitative research methods were employed to conduct the field study. The study sample consisted of the coordinator, alumnae and student members, and executive committee members participating in a university alumnae mentoring program from 2000 to 2001. Analysis was applied to the research data, and themes were identified from participants' stories and experiences with the program. ^ The study's major findings were grouped under six primary themes: program creation, program structure, program membership, challenges for the program, outcomes of the program, and value of the program. Subthemes and related codes supported the primary themes and were presented using participants' voices. ^ The summary, discussion, and recommendations were presented. The program studied possessed characteristics of formal mentoring, but the program's unstructured mentoring approach and lack of specified mentoring outcomes did not correlate with formal mentoring. Support from the university alumni association and leadership from the program's coordinator and executive committee were vital to the program's development. Alumnae and student members engaged in a reciprocal learning process yielding networking opportunities, real world perspectives, and connections to the university. ^ The final chapter presented an epilogue of the researcher's personal mentoring experiences. ^

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Walker, Stephanie J, "Development of a university alumnae mentoring program: A case study" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3045541.