Theses Doctoral

The Learning Experience of Alumni Mock Interviewers: Implications for Program Design

Rockey-Harris, Kate Amanda

Career centers in higher education must create environments that serve the needs of students and alumni. Alumni not only are a served population, but also are beneficial to student career development, and serve dual purposes as clients and volunteers. One program frequently offered by career centers that engages alumni volunteers is an alumni mock interview program. While the alumni volunteers act as interviewers to share their insights and professional experience, they too are clients, so their learning must be considered.

Existing mock interview program research primarily examines the student learning experience. This study addressed the research problem of the unknown learning experience of alumni mock interviewers. The purpose was to explore with a group of alumni volunteers their perceptions of their learning experience as interviewers within a mock interview program. To achieve this purpose, the researcher employed a qualitative, single-case study approach drawing upon the experiences of alumni mock interviewers within a particular setting. Data was collected from 43 participants providing questionnaire ratings and 25 subset participants completing critical incident written responses and interviews.

Four major study findings emerged: (1) All described what they learned, with a majority learning the importance of creating a comfortable environment, delivering feedback, offering the program for students’ preparation, and understanding current students’ experiences; (2) All found aspects that contributed to their learning, with a majority describing having sample interview questions and staying in touch with students as helpful; (3) All found aspects that inhibited their learning, with a majority describing the lack of connection with fellow alumni mock interviewers and lack of industry knowledge of specific fields as hindering; (4) All described program design recommendations to foster alumni learning, with a majority recommending matching students with alumni based on industry and background, providing an opportunity to hear about alumni experiences, and offering advanced training to students.

The principal recommendations of the study have implications for higher education career service professionals on how to design mock interview programs to engage alumni in lifelong learning by considering the sources of knowledge within the program and utilizing adult learning theory and learning from experience frameworks as guides.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Christensen, Monica Coen
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 22, 2021