Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Verdi, Mick


The development of administrators, faculty, and staff within higher education presumes an apprenticeship between an experienced individual (supervisor, tenured faculty, or friend within the field) and the employee (Reybold, 2003). Understanding the path to career advancement within higher education can assist in personal career aspirations (Rhoads & Tierney, 1993). However, many institutions do not recognize the need for a mentor as necessary for developing a person’s career. A professional roadmap to advancement within higher education usually consists of policies and procedures and social and cultural norms, yet without guidance, these can be difficult to master on one’s own. Studies have found that with assistance, professional growth based on mentoring practices and adaptation has equaled success (Kram, 1989). Traditionally a career path is a method by which an employee can develop and progress in an organization, yet many professionals have been unable to rely on a clear career path within their organization (Clark, 2018). Guidance on how to move forward is often minimal because organizations are unsure (Clark, 2018). New academics are forced to take a detective-like approach, investigating and vetting opportunities. Mentoring is a significant contributing factor in skill development, psychosocial or social-emotional support, and career advance and success (Haggard, Dougherty, Turban, & Wilbanks, 2011; Jacobi, 1991; Kram, 1985; Packard, 2016). However, there is insufficient familiarity with the use of mentoring as a vital tool for career advancement within academia. This study was developed to understand how mentoring relationships cultivate a path of career advancement for those employed within academia. Through transformational qualitative models, this study will discover what elements of mentoring served the mentee and the mentor within academia that have led to career advancement. The study will also include each participant’s perspective on how their mentoring relationship progressed; examine basic issues such as navigating social and cultural networking, university policies and procedures, and the purpose of mentorship and the results of being mentored; and examine a number of circumstances in which the growing leadership roles within higher education, such as recognition of the contributions of the life experiences of adult learners and their individual learning needs, are seen in conflict with established patterns of traditional training platforms.