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Peer Leadership: An Analysis of Peer Mentors at an Urban, Hispanic-Serving Institution
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College students are increasingly relied on to assist institutions of higher education in their retention and graduation rates of first-time-in-college (FTIC) students. Although they do help in accomplishing institutional persistence gains, they also provide opportunities to develop leadership. The purpose of this study was to describe the mentoring experience from the perspective of peer mentors at an urban, Hispanic-Serving Institution (UHSI) by exploring the motivation of upperclassmen to mentor freshmen, quantifying the leadership behaviors peer mentors exhibit through mentoring freshmen, and exploring the impact of a peer mentoring experience on an upperclassmen’s leadership and career development. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to complete this three-part research. The first study used a qualitative approach reviewing potential peer mentor applications. Through content analysis, the applications allowed the UHSI peer mentors to reflect on their own experiences as a new student, describe their genuine desire to help others, and articulate their focus on student success. The applications also identified 93 references to peer mentor qualities mostly focused on interpersonal and support characteristics. The study also revealed potential peer mentors anticipate three transferrable themes to their careers: development of skills, working with people, and service to others. The second study was descriptive and aimed to examine the leadership behaviors of peer mentors at UHSI. Using the Student-Leadership Practices Inventory and demographic items as an instrument, 25 peer mentors completed the survey resulting in a 62.5% response rate. The data suggests the UHSI peer mentors are leaders as they practice all five exemplary leadership behaviors. The third study was a qualitative approach to explore how graduating peer mentors at an urban, Hispanic-Serving Institution (UHSI) develop as a leader. A purposive sample was used to identify eight peer mentors who graduate from UHSI in 2019. Focus groups were conducted to collect the peer mentor experience. Data was analyzed using the constant comparative method, and the findings revealed the UHSI peer mentor graduates have developed as a leader and anticipate applying their communication and relationshipbuilding skills to their future careers.
Ho, Sarah Peña (2019). Peer Leadership: An Analysis of Peer Mentors at an Urban, Hispanic-Serving Institution. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from