Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Nancy L. Williams


The School of Education at Walter Baxter College (WBC; a pseudonym), a private, 4-year, liberal arts college located in the Midwestern United States, has not integrated role conceptualization training for cooperating teachers who have partnered within a yearlong, coteaching clinical practice model. The problem was that cooperating teachers have demonstrated inconsistencies in providing mentorship as part of the coteaching model. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to provide information on how to support cooperating elementary education teachers in effectively understanding and executing their roles as mentors to teacher candidates when partnering within a coteaching clinical practice model. Two theories grounded this study: Portner’s four mentoring functions and Stets and Burke’s role identity formation. The research questions of the study focused on how cooperating teachers describe and operationalize their roles as mentors and how the teacher preparation program can support cooperating teachers. Through one-on-one interviews and reflection papers of five cooperating teacher participants, thematic data analysis suggested the opportunity for professional development to better train and support cooperating teachers in their roles as mentors. Based on these findings, a professional development program was developed as the project to provide cooperating teachers with explicit instruction and practice in coaching teacher candidates as related to mentoring. As WBC’s teacher preparation program (i.e., the project) better reinforces and supports a collaborative mentoring model, positive social change will occur resulting in better-prepared teacher candidates that will consequently become better classroom teachers and strengthened partnerships with prekindergarten-12 schools.