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Evaluation of a mentoring program for graduate behavioral education students

Susan A Ainsleigh, Johnson & Wales University


Mentoring occurs when an older, more experienced professional assumes a supportive, guiding role with a less experienced individual, often referred to as a protégé or a mentee (Kelly, 1999). Mentoring programs have been promoted in educational research as a cost-effective alternative to traditional professional development models. In times of budgetary constraints and mandated educational reforms, educational leaders often turn to mentoring to augment pre-service training and support the professional development of an inexperienced teacher (McCormick, 2001; Toliver, 1999). Despite frequent references to mentoring in educational literature, formal evaluation studies of mentoring and empirical evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of mentoring are absent (Fullerton, 1988; Roberts, 1999). In the field of Behavioral Education, the completion of either a supervised or mentored experience is a requirement to qualify for certification (BACB®, 2003). Behavioral literature yields no references to mentoring and offers no exemplary program models upon which to develop graduate-level experiential learning experiences. This case study evaluates the mentoring component of a graduate program in behavioral education using the framework of the CIPP program evaluation model as a guide. Using archival records, document review, interview of mentors and mentees from a graduate behavioral education program, and interview of independent experts in the field of applied behavior analysis, a detailed portrait of the mentoring component of a graduate-level behavioral education program is provided. The results of this study describe the intended outcomes of experiential learning in the field of behavioral education, outline procedures for developing and implementing a mentoring program for graduate behavioral education students, and describe the necessary components for evaluating the impact of mentoring on the learning of future behavior analysts and educators. Several themes and patterns emerged in relation to information gathered, both among participants, and between participants and previous research findings, on the use of mentoring in educational settings. Among these were recommendations for hiring and training mentors, considerations to consider when matching mentors and mentees, logistical considerations regarding the structuring of mentoring sessions, and criteria for evaluating the outcomes of a mentoring experience. The results ore aligned with each evaluation phase of the CIPP program evaluation model.

Subject Area

Higher education|Behaviorial sciences

Recommended Citation

Ainsleigh, Susan A, "Evaluation of a mentoring program for graduate behavioral education students" (2004). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3177193.