Date of Award



© 2018 Debra Lynn Welkley

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Second Advisor

Joel Lowsky

Third Advisor

Santos Torres, Jr.


Doctoral students in programs throughout the United States express a need for mentoring as an important element in the completion of their degree (Associate Students of the Graduate Division, 2017; Noonan et al., 2007; University of Michigan, 2006). Although there are several studies that explored types of mentor programs and student perceptions of mentoring (Johnson, 2015; Terry & Ghosh, 2015), a review of the literature indicates an examination of doctoral student mentoring from a faculty mentor’s lens had not been examined. This transcendental phenomenological study investigated the lived experiences of faculty who mentor online Ed.D. students. The findings in the study provided threads for five emergent themes: Theme 1, Development of Trust; Theme 2, Experience as a Doctoral Student; Theme 3, Mentoring Is Challenging; Theme 4, Relationship Building; and Theme 5, Varying Types of Communication. Recommendations surfaced from the implications generated in this study, which ranged from programs clarifying that mentoring is an expected dimension of the dissertation dynamic to providing training on communication tools for faculty, and programs may want to consider the ratio of mentees to mentor based on best practices for cultivating such relationships and ways to support mentors who support a large number of students. Finally, developing a best practices mentoring guide for online Ed.D. programs reflective of the lived experiences, as well as recommendations, shared by research participants in this study was another recommendation in this study. In addition to unearthing the shared lived experiences of faculty who formally mentor online Ed.D. students, this study provides a foundation for continued research exploring mentoring relationships in online doctoral programs.


Ed.D. Dissertation