Mentoring as a tool for academic and personal development in the Mellon Mays undergraduate program.

Mabeta, Matsie Rebecca
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This research project investigated how students and mentors in the 2008 Melon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship experienced the benefits and difficulties of the mentoring relationship. With the help of the mentor students appeared to excel both academically and personally. A qualitative research paradigm was used and unstructured interviews were conducted with five mentors and five students in the first cohort of the MMUF at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Mentoring reports completed by mentors were analysed and validated the content of the interviews. Both mentors and mentees confirmed that mentoring was indeed a powerful tool for academic and personal development. They maintained that there was no way that one could develop academically and not develop personally. Mentoring relationships that did not succeed were attributed to no effort on the part of either the student or the mentor. The mentors and mentees agreed that the benefits were mutual; they all learned from each other. Student development was observable and students reported that they were beginning to feel part of a community of scholars.
Mentoring, Mentoring relationship, Academic development, Personal development, Community of practice, Undergraduate students