Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New law school teaching scholarship: The role of peer mentors in student academic success

This article, entitled The social capital benefits of peer-mentoring relationships in law school is by professors Meera E. Deo (Thomas Jefferson School of Law) and Kimberly A. Griffin (Education Policy Studies, Penn State) and can be found at 38 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 305 (2011). From the abstract:

Scholars have addressed the rigors of law school and suggest mentorship may help students better navigate their educational environments. However, literature largely addresses the role of faculty mentors, less often considering peer mentors in the law school context. This study explores first-year law students' motivation in forming peer mentoring relationships and the roles peer mentors play in students' lives. Analyses of survey and focus group data collected from 203 first-year law students at eleven institutions reveal that the majority rely on peer support, forming formal, informal, and “organizational” peer-mentoring relationships. Relationship formation is motivated by students' acknowledged need for help transitioning into law school, a lack of formal academic advising, and the discomfort associated with seeking faculty assistance. Mentoring relationships also represent an important form of social capital for new students, introducing them to the academic rigors of law school while also offering individualized social support.



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