Exploring the University Support Networks of First-Generation Undergraduate Students
AuthorEncinas, Ericka Ruby
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe central research questions that guided this study were: how does the mentor/mentee relationship between academic advisors and first-generation college students develop within an academic success course; how does the mentor/mentee relationship between peer mentors and first-generation college students develop within an academic success course?This research was conducted utilizing a case-study approach with a single academic success course for students on academic probation serving as the case. Three academic advisors teaching the course, four peer mentors meeting with students outside of class, and three students taking the course were interviewed. The case was selected to explore in depth the complex system of support first generation college students receive at the university level. The two overarching themes that emerged from the data were: the process of developing an emotional connection to create a relationship and utilizing a holistic approach to support students. More specifically, finding common ground, being relatable to students, showing that you care for students as individuals, and fostering openness and informality in relationships were the components identified by participants to foster emotional connection. The data also revealed that peer mentors and advisors were initiating accountability with their students, making intentional referrals for students to other campus resources, and the underlying motivation to serve in these two roles came from an intrinsic desire to give back. Recommendations included directors of advising and student retention administrations defining the roles of advisors in regard to student emotional support, compensating them for their work, and increase training for all university staff and faculty on how to create these impactful relationships with students.
Degree ProgramGraduate College