A formative evaluation of the Humanities Faculty Mentorship Programme

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

In South Africa university under-preparedness, due to social, economic and cultural disadvantage, makes black students vulnerable to a complex set of problems when entering university. This negatively affects retention and graduation rates among non-traditional students. Universities must recognise these students' social, academic and economic struggles and implement interventions to support them. The Humanities Faculty Mentorship Programme (HFMP) provides psychosocial support through mentoring for students likely to be under-prepared to meet the demands of the University of Cape Town. This paper presents process and outcome evaluations of the HFMP. The process-level evaluation questions are divided into service utilisation, service delivery and organisational support categories. The outcome-level evaluation questions address the programme's intended outcomes; psychosocial adjustment, academic proficiency and university retention. Results indicate that mentor involvement was sufficient, mentees were generally satisfied with their mentoring experience as were mentors with mentor training. Psychosocial adjustment and academic proficiency were achieved. However, over-coverage, poor mentee attendance, and issues with staffing and programme monitoring could have affected the programme's implementation. In addition, the recurrence of academic problems among mentees warrants attention. Suggestions for improving the programme are presented as are recommendations for future evaluations to improve data quality and the assessment of programme effect.