Male faculty mentors in black and white

Richard J. Reddick (Department of Educational Administration, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Publication date: 25 March 2012



The purpose of this paper is to explore the phenomenon of mentoring in higher education between Black and White male faculty and Black students at a highly selective, predominantly White institution (PWI) of higher education in the USA. The study aims to elucidate the cross‐racial aspects of mentorship and the impact of gender on mentoring relationships.


The paper consists of a phenomenological study utilising theories of cross‐racial and cross‐gender mentoring, and included eight participants, twice interviewed in depth about their formative experiences and mentoring practices regarding Black students. The data were analysed using a cross‐sectional code‐and‐retrieve method.


The paper provides insights about how Black men leveraged experiences parallel to those confronted by their Black protégés, while White men accessed proximal experiences of difference to relate to Black mentees – and additionally utilized interpersonal networks to enhance their mentorship by relying on colleagues of color who had greater familiarity with challenges faced by students.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalizability to populations; however, the theoretical contributions of the study are significant, suggesting that researchers explore cross‐race and cross‐gender mentoring arrangements in future research.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for regarding the role and position of White males in academic settings as mentors across race and gender, and for the role of age for men serving in the role of mentors.


The paper contributes to the literature on cross‐racial mentoring in higher education, and further explores the impact of gender on mentoring, within the context of a highly competitive academic setting.



Reddick, R. (2012), "Male faculty mentors in black and white", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 36-53.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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