Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



Peer mentoring is a growing trend utilized to improve graduation and retention rates of college students across campuses. It is a strategy being used either outside or inside the classroom to assist students with learning, connecting to resources, and increasing student success in gateway courses. Southwest State University is an example of an institution, initially funded through a Title V grant, using peer mentoring in gateway courses. Peer mentors are placed in high failing gateway courses such as the ones chosen for this study to include Earth and Planetary Science 101, Chemistry 121, and Math 121. Gateway courses are defined as large lecture courses often difficult for students to pass because of class size and subject. Southwest State University includes gateway courses students are required to pass to progress through their intended major. The purpose of this qualitative study was to learn how peer mentors impact student success in gateway courses at one university in the southwest. Course mentors, students, and instructors were interviewed and courses observed to seek understanding of influences peer mentors have in the classroom. Common themes contributing to the effectiveness of peer mentoring in gateway courses were explored to determine how peer-to-peer mentoring is influencing these courses and to explore the overall research question of: How do peer mentors impact college students in undergraduate gateway courses at a large public university?


Peer mentoring in undergraduate gateway courses

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Advisor

Chavez, Alicia

First Committee Member (Chair)

De Leon, Jozi

Second Committee Member

Torres, Eliseo

Third Committee Member

Minthorn, Robin