The Ethics of Care as a Framework for Higher Education Philosophy and Implemented Policy: Can Mentoring Micro Connections Produce Powerful Macro Effects?'

Ni Dhonacha, Siobhan
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2016]
Do we care because we are ethical, or are we ethical because we care? This is a philosophical argument deserving of contemplation and in reality may never be fully resolved. Are the ethics of care and the philosophy of caring in higher education in America an antinomy? Can, and should, the caring principle co-exist and interrelate as an implemented and sustainable policy in the often corporatized and quantitatively driven American higher education landscape? It is proposed that there is an ethics to caring, and there exists in society a shared social responsibility for the betterment of all. An ethics of care framework as a foundation for mentoring programs in higher education has not been well studied. The purpose of this qualitative design dissertation study, which also contains some quantitative demographic elements, is to propose that mentoring, situated within an ethics of care policy framework, be an institutionalized and go-to tool used in higher education upper level policy to positively affect the undergraduate student experience and progress to degree. Existing data obtained from the mentoring program Puahia: Inspiring Emerging Educators was analyzed in order to attempt to discover themes, patterns, and self-perceived effects upon the participants, both mentor and mentee. In addition, the mentoring programmatic design, funding, and institutional support was examined. From this, the researcher examined the possible efficacy of utilizing mentoring programs in academic settings as part of a holistic solution designed to improve student persistence, institutional caring, interdependence, and an enhanced higher educational experience. Specifically, if the caring principle is successfully applied to individual student success and educational attainment through responsive, high level institutionally resourced and sustainably supported mentoring program encounters and micro connections (Hartley, 2004; K.A. Johnson, 2003; Lander, 2004; Zevallos & Washburn, 2014), caring may have a potentially powerful positive global impact and macro effect upon the student experience, American higher education recruitment, retention, and graduation, and upon society as a whole.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
ethics of care, micro connections, mentoring, academic advising, higher education, resilience
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