Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

Summer 8-2012


A DISSERTATION PROPOSAL [sic] Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Specialization: Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Richard J. Torraco. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Sheri A. Grotrian-Ryan


The purpose of this study was to examine and better comprehend the concept of mentoring within the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program. This study addressed the functions of mentoring and how they applied to those participating in the ACE Fellows Program—from the Fellows’ (or protégés’) perspectives. A sequential explanatory mixed methods design was used, and it involved collecting quantitative data followed by qualitative data. Due to the fact there is a shortage of campus leaders because of increased retirement, gaining knowledge in how to develop future administrators would be beneficial. Such a mixed methods study proposed what functions of mentoring likely enhanced the learning experience, including how they did so.

Data were collected via survey and interview methods. The survey was employed to determine which mentoring functions ACE Fellows experienced in their Fellowship and which they believed to have been most beneficial in their own leadership development. Three classes of Fellows were asked to participate in the study; 36 usable surveys were returned from the 98 sent out. Upon collection of the survey results, nine individuals were selected for follow-up explanatory interviews in which additional details were learned. The information learned in the follow-up interviews allowed the researcher to draw parallels among the information.

Results from the survey demonstrated specific mentoring functions that were most utilized and least utilized. In addition, Fellows provided their perception of which function(s) were most and least beneficial to their own leadership development. Based upon the follow-up interviews that were conducted, themes emerged: multiple sources of mentorship were perceived as beneficial; many desired additional follow-up mentoring; and collectively, psychosocial functions were positively viewed.

Advisor: Richard J. Torraco