Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Sherblom

Second Advisor

Dr. Yvonne Gibbs

Third Advisor

Dr. Shane Williamson


This qualitative study analyzed mentoring experiences and perceptions of females enrolled in a doctorate program of education, including a Principal Investigator-led peer mentoring group. The snowball technique generated 20 participants who were interviewed for a two-part study to share mentoring experiences by responding to Research Question One: What are the mentoring experiences of a sample of female students enrolled in an Educational leadership doctoral program at a Midwestern University? The conceptual framework explored experiences and perceptions of women at the doctoral level, mentoring support systems, and barriers to doctoral completion. Additional interviews were sought from faculty named as providing mentoring support for students. Faculty shared best practices of mentoring female doctoral students. The second part of the study was a voluntary peer-mentoring group. Research Question Two examined: What are the experiences of a group of doctoral students voluntarily participating in an experimental peer mentoring group in the same doctoral program in education? Emerging themes were participants’ varied perceptions of what constituted their unique mentoring needs, how to define or recognize a mentoring relationship, and why participants did not participate in accessible mentoring opportunities. Findings indicated a range of responses and experiences about mentoring, including for some participants, the perception of not having mentoring. A significant finding in the study was that women desired to be mentored but have different perceptions of what constitutes mentoring. Additionally, women who felt they were mentored expressed positive comments about the professors who mentored them as well as positive experiences as doctoral students. Students who perceived themselves as not being mentored expressed iii more negative concerns about the doctoral program process. Recommendations are offered on ways the doctoral program can better support both formal and informal mentoring at the doctoral level. Future research focusing on women and mentoring perceptions and experiences at the doctoral level is needed, whether men at the doctoral level have similar or contrasting mentoring needs as women, how diversity of faculty impacts African American women’s mentoring experiences, whether female students benefit from being mentored by female faculty, and how peer mentoring groups can be implemented or academically improved for doctoral students.


Copyright 2014