Date of Award

Winter 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Higher Education

Committee Director

Dennis Gregory

Committee Member

David Hager

Committee Member

Keith Moore


A review of the higher education literature indicates that the majority of retention research has focused on first-year students and that additional research is needed for other class levels – particularly sophomores (Graunke & Woosley, 2005). However, the reality is that sophomores benefit from a minimal number of special programs, minimal contact with faculty and others in leadership positions, and minimal attention from student affairs personnel (Anderson & Schreiner, 2000). An unintended consequence of this reduced attention is higher than expected rates of sophomore attrition.

This exploratory research study employs a quasi-experimental quantitative research design to evaluate the results of a mentoring program for sophomore students. The instruments utilized to support the study are the "Student Role Commitment Scale" and the "Academic Skills Comfort Scale" from the Transition to College Inventory (TCI). Academic success was assessed using cumulative GPA and retention of students from sophomore to junior status.

The findings of the study are analyzed and presented, and areas for future research are highlighted. The findings indicate that mentoring can have a significant impact on sophomore student academic success, which can lead to higher grades and persistence.

Finally, the study suggested directions for continued research and actions that might taken to increase student academic success in higher education settings.