Added Value: Perspectives of Student Mentors working within a University Level Inclusive Education Program
The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of peer mentors who served in a mentor role for students with intellectual disabilities in a university-level educational program. The study used face-to-face interviews with eleven general-population students who had worked at least one semester as a peer mentor with students with intellectual disabilities. The interview transcripts and participant characteristics formed the study data. The qualitative transcript data was analyzed using the constant comparative method of joint coding and analysis. Analysis of results was completed independently by two researchers. Analysis revealed two overarching categories comprised of seven overlapping themes. The two categories identified were enrichment of the mentors’ educational experience and enhancement of the University community. Themes for enrichment included gaining new skills, patience, challenges, personal satisfaction, and changed perspectives. Themes making up the enhancing of the University community were campus awareness and just students. Even though limited in scope, this study suggests that the implementation of inclusive programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities can have a positive influence on student mentors, as well as the university campus life.
Sowell, R. and Maddox, B. (2015) Added Value: Perspectives of Student Mentors working within a University Level Inclusive Education Program, Online Journal of Education Research, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp. 1-10.