Originally Published In
Journal of Learning in Higher Education
Faculty who mentor online doctoral candidates face many of the same challenges and opportunities as those mentoring doctoral candidates in traditional, face-to-face modalities. The main difference is that E-Mentoring is based on interacting in the online space rather than interacting face-to-face, which may present challenges for both the candidate and the mentor. The concept of mentoring, which originated from Greek mythology, defined a close relationship between the mentor and the student. In Ancient India, the word Guru from the Sanskrit language stood to symbolize a caring mentor and expert teacher. Structured E-Mentor programs are formalized programs which provide training, coaching, advice, and structure to increase engagement through the online dissertation phase of doctoral education. Doctoral Mentoring relationships are an intrinsically a deeply human process. Mentoring involves the nurturing of a novice or a less experienced person (protégé) by a seasoned and experienced person acting as the mentor in providing guidance, support, and dissemination of required knowledge for a given area of expertise. Doctoral mentors play a large role in guiding the doctoral candidate through the dissertation process from identifying their topic through conducting the research study. E-Mentoring doctoral candidates in online doctoral programs entails many of the same opportunities and challenges as serving candidates in programs that are offered in a traditional, face-to-face modality. The difference is E-Mentor interaction takes place 100% of the time from anywhere. The E-Mentor chair/candidate relationship begins as soon as the doctoral candidate completes doctoral content courses and begins the dissertation process. This article focuses on E-Mentor the online doctoral student throughout the dissertation process and the techniques that chairs and committee members can frame, and guide their candidates as they travel through their doctoral dissertation journey.