Mentoring and Satisfaction with College for Black Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

Determining the extent to which faculty-student mentoring predicts satisfaction in college for Black students was our purpose for this study. We performed a secondary analysis of data from a national sample obtained from the College Student Experiences Questionnaire (CSEQ) Research Program. The CSEQ consists of 191 items designed to measure the quality and quantity of students' involvement in college activities and their use of college facilities. The student sample consisted of 554 Black college students who completed the CSEQ in 2004. Based on the results, establishing a meaningful, research-focused mentoring relationship with a faculty member had a positive relationship with Black students' satisfaction with college, whereas establishing a personal, informal mentoring relationship did not have a significant effect on satisfaction.

Introduction

During the last decade of the 20lh century, the enrollment rate of racial minority students in higher education continued to increase; however, these students remain underrepresented compared to White students in higher education (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002). In addition, minority students graduate in significantly lower numbers. Approximately 29% of Whites aged 25-29 held at least a bachelor's degree in 1997, whereas 14.4% of Black African Americans and 1% of Hispanics held an undergraduate degree (Minorities in Higher Education, 1999-2000). Despite the gains in enrollment, minority students continue to face significant challenges in higher education, and without adequate support many drop out of college (Astin, 1993; Tinto, 1993).

Mentoring programs have been instituted at many colleges and universities to support minority students and to encourage members of minority groups to enter college and find success within higher education (Brown, Davis, & McClendon, 1999; Hicks, 2005; Santos, Reigadas & Scott, 2000; Santos & Reigadas, 2004; Welch, 1997). Bringing the percentages of minorities with college degrees in line with the percentage in the general population was another goal of many of these programs. Quite a few mentoring programs were successful in recruiting and retaining minority students (e.g., California Community Colleges, 1993; Campbell & Campbell, 1997; Canton & James, 1997; Salinitri, 2005).

Types of mentoring in these programs and ways to describe the construct varied (Broadbridge, 1999; Galbraith, 2002; Healy, 1997;Jacobi, 1 99 1 ; Merriam, 1983). For example. Healy (1997) stated that mentoring is "a dynamic, reciprocal relationship in a work environment between an advanced career incumbent [mentor] and a beginner [protégé] aimed at promoting the career development of both" (p. 10). Additionally, Galbraith and Maslin-Ostrowski (2000) stated that mentoring is "a process of intellectual, psychological, and affective development.... Mentors accept personal responsibility as competent and trustworthy nonparental figures for the significant growth of other individuals" (pp. 136-137).

Mentoring has also been described as the process by which a student or protégé is positively socialized by a faculty member or mentor into the institution and/or profession. The mentor often serves in multiple rolesrole model, teacher, advisor, guide, and resource (Biaggio, 2001; Galbraith & James, 2004; Levinson, Darrow, Klein, Levinson, & McKee, 1978).

Research and writing on mentoring have increased in recent years (Alire, 1997; Blackwell, 1989; Merriam, 1983; Santos, Reigadas, & Scott, 2000; Scott, 1992; Van Stone, Nelson, & Niemann, 1994). However, data regarding the mentoring of Black students is limited (Frierson, 1997; Willie, Grady, & Hope, 1991). The few studies we found that do focus on Black students lack focus and depth; some combine Black and non-Black students while others fail to tease out differences between various forms of mentoring. It is out of this context that the present study grew, as we wanted to determine the extent to which faculty-student mentoring predicts satisfaction in college for Black students. …