Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Nickolaus Ortiz

Second Advisor

Dr. Christine D. Thomas

Third Advisor

Dr. Natalie King

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Pier Junor Clarke


Teacher preparation in secondary mathematics in an educational degree-seeking program at an accredited college or university is a complex endeavor. The program requires preservice teachers to complete coursework requirements, noncoursework requirements, and a clinical experience. The clinical experience is a core component of the teacher preparation program wherein university supervisors mentor and support preservice teachers in an authentic classroom setting. Although the work of university supervisors plays a vital part in preparing preservice teachers for secondary mathematics teaching and learning, there has been limited research to explain the university supervisor’s role when mentoring secondary mathematics preservice teachers. For this investigation, the phenomenon of interest was the role of the university supervisor. This study aimed to investigate the lived experiences of university supervisors as they support secondary mathematics preservice teachers during the clinical year. The following questions guided this phenomenological qualitative research study: (a) What are the lived experiences of a university supervisor while supporting preservice teachers of secondary mathematics during the clinical year? (b) What mentoring strategies do university supervisors use to support the development of well-prepared beginning mathematics teachers? Heidegger’s phenomenological theories served as a framework for the study, and data collection occurred through in-depth interviews with each research participant. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was appropriate to interpret interview responses. The study’s findings show effective university supervisors (a) have previous K–12 classroom teaching experiences that significantly influence their approach to mentoring, (b) build relationships with preservice teachers throughout the clinical experience, (c) are life-long learners with the capacity to embrace mentoring strategies connected to the culture and context in which the preservice teachers are emersed, and (d) demonstrate characteristics of the implementation component of Knight’s coaching model in the context of teaching in urban schools.


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