The role of mentor in higher education mentoring process

Soto, N. M., Cuadrado, A. M., García, M. S., Rísquez, A. and Ortega, M. S. (2012) The role of mentor in higher education mentoring process. Educacion XX1, 15 (2). pp. 93-118. ISSN 1139613X (ISSN)


A specific model of guidance and mentoring for new students has been piloted in two consecutive academic years by the research group DOCAP (Development and Guidance for the Professional Career) and the COIE (Centre for Guidance, Information and Employment) at UNED (National Distance University of Spain). This model comprises of two main figures: a teacher or tutor acting as an advisor, and a peer mentor. Peer mentors are students in their latter years of study, and therefore, have achieved a good academic adjustment and have developed study competences at UNED. As a result, they are ideally equipped to help those new students (mentees) that face the beginning of their studies in this university. Frequently, these new students balance diverse life and professional demands, and lack of appropriate habits and skills for self-regulated study. Therefore, they face a new situation in which, although they can avail of a wide range of resources for support, they do not know how to access them. A peer mentor plays a central role in the mentoring process, as s/he encourages and guides the student in his/her process of academic adjustment and the achievement of his/her objectives and expectations. This paper presents the results of the evaluation of the mentoring process, analyses how the helping relationship evolved, the aspects it dealt with, the moments when it took place and the means of communication deployed. Furthermore, a balance on the benefits obtained is presented, in terms of the adjustment between the expectations and the subsequent experience by both mentors and mentees.

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