Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Dennis Gregory


The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of faculty and staff mentoring on high-risk community college student self-efficacy, support systems and persistence and identifying the attitudes and behaviors of successful faculty and staff mentors. Using a phenomenological qualitative approach, twenty-two successful high-risk students from one urban community college were interviewed and asked to identify and describe someone on campus who had been most influential in their ability to persist. The twenty-six community college faculty and staff personnel identified by these students were interviewed to learn what they do to help students succeed and persist. Four themes emerged from these interviews: (1) High-Risk Community College students are unprepared for college completion prior to college entry; (2) The desire to quit college by High-Risk community college students is one that occurs often in a semester and is motivated by the various causes of collegiate unpreparedness discussed in theme one; (3) Mentoring of a transactional nature by more than one faculty or staff mentor when these vulnerable students were ready to quit is responsible for their decision to stay in college; and (4) The best mentors possess a combination of interpersonal traits. The most frequently mentioned valued faculty / staff mentor characteristics are (a) authenticity; (b) compassion; (c) sense of humor; (d) accessibility / approachability; (e) a sincere desire to see students succeed. Five implications for community college decision makers were also recommended.