Tapestry: Journal of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in Education

Document Type



Online graduate programs have steadily increased since 2016 (Curry, 2022). As more students of color enroll in these programs, research shows that faculty-student mentoring improves student academic performance, psychological health, and social environment (Curry, 2022). Mentoring within an online format presents unique challenges and requires specific adaptive strategies. Understanding best practices in mentoring must be a priority to ensure successful mentoring programs and students’ completion as higher education institutions expand their level of support for online students of color (Brown et al., 1999). Several studies have identified best practices in mentoring. Booker and Brevard (2017) categorized themes of graduate student experiences enrolled in online programs. Their research identified mentor accessibility and communication, academic and social support, and meaningful college transition support as three significant areas that should be included when developing best practices for mentoring programs. Furthermore, Polland and Kumar (2021) noted the importance of fostering interpersonal connections between mentees and mentors that lead to improved communication, connectedness, and support. These studies demonstrate a need to explore the topic of mentoring for students of color enrolled in online graduate programs. The panel presentation will discuss student mentoring experiences at a private, online Christian university. The discussion will address the following questions: What factors influence the nature and quality of the mentoring relationship in an online environment? What challenges exist when mentoring graduate students online? What best practices and strategies can be drawn from the peer-reviewed literature on online graduate student mentoring?