Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology, Leadership, and Higher Education

First Committee Member

Rebecca Nathanson

Second Committee Member

Lisa Bendixen

Third Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Fourth Committee Member

Wendy Hoskins

Number of Pages



In today’s complex workplace, organizations have implemented mentoring programs to serve the needs of employees by providing career development and personal support. Mentoring relationships provide a variety of vocational, psychosocial and role modeling functions to protégés. Previous educational psychology research has examined the role of mentoring as it relates to self-regulation, self-efficacy, career promotions, motivation and other constructs. Epistemic cognition relates to the understanding of the nature of knowledge and knowing. Epistemic cognition relates to the development, in which one’s understanding of knowledge evolves from a belief that knowledge is finite, must be passed down by expert authorities toward an understanding that knowledge is infinite, and grows through the exchange of ideas. This study sought to examine a relationship between epistemic cognition and mentoring. Ample research demonstrates that mentoring supports the construction of knowledge in the workplace. However, there is a gap in the literature to provide understanding that the psychosocial, career development and role modeling functions of mentoring influence the understanding of the nature of knowledge and knowing. This study attempts to fill that gap, and through focus groups, better understand the mentoring experiences of higher education administrators and the way these experiences shape their understanding of the nature of knowledge. While the data did not reveal a causal relationship between mentoring functions and epistemic beliefs, a correlation was found between role modeling mentoring functions and simple knowledge epistemic beliefs as well as between psychosocial mentoring functions and certain knowledge epistemic beliefs. Further, focus group data provided rich description of mentoring interactions leading to development in the epistemic belief categories of certain knowledge and omniscient authority.


Epistemic Beliefs; Epistemic Cognition; Higher Education Administration; Mentoring; Mentoring Functions; Workforce Mentoring


Educational Psychology | Epistemology | Higher Education Administration

File Format


File Size

6100 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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