Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


Standing On Shoulders: A Narrative Inquiry Examining the Faculty Mentoring Experiences of Black Women in a Doctoral Program

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Maureen Wilson (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Dafina-Lazarus Stewart (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Hyun Kyoung Ro (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Louis Katzner (Committee Member)


Mentoring in graduate education is considered a vital component of graduate education. The purpose of this qualitative research was to hear the stories Black women in doctoral programs (BWDP) tell about their faculty mentoring experiences. The theoretical frameworks used to ground this study were Critical Race Feminism and Hunt and Michael’s (1983) framework for the study of mentorship. The participants were nine Black women currently enrolled in doctoral programs across the United States. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with women who self-identified as being Black and enrolled in a doctoral program. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or virtually.

Through a'creative nonfiction' style, the stories BWDP shared about their faculty mentoring experiences were illuminated. Findings revealed that faculty mentoring for BWDP was about guidance, relationships, and having a faculty mentor who is culturally competent. The discussion section linked previous literature to the current study. This study contributes to the knowledge base on mentoring and doctoral education. It also illustrates the importance of centering the needs and the lived experiences of BWDP to counter dominant mentoring approaches within doctoral education.