Scholarship Spotlight: Dru Barisich

By Michael Berger, EdD

Older male teacher goes over concepts with a younger confused male

Welcome to Scholarship Spotlight! In this feature, we highlight dissertations, scholarly articles and presentations from learners in the College of Doctoral Studies. We have another dissertation from one of our alumni, Dru Barisich, a graduate of Grand Canyon University’s Doctor of Education (EdD) in organizational leadership program.

It can be easy to find a mentorship relationship when you are young and still a student. Mentorship relationships can take many forms: professor to student, church leader to church member, and even older person to younger person.

But what happens when a student becomes a teacher?

Many school districts in the U.S. are implementing formal mentorship-like programs for their new-to-task teachers. New teachers are mentored through educational leaders in hopes of alleviating some of the stress and exhaustion that comes with being a first-year educator.

Dr. Barisich’s exploratory study looked at this mentoring dynamic and its effect on the quality of the performance of these new teachers. Findings of this study suggest that mentoring improves the performance of new teachers and suggests that similar programs be implemented in other professions to help aid new-to-task professionals.

The overall design, data collection procedure, and data analyses were well thought out and exceptionally presented narratively and in charts and tables. The study is well written, and the literature review is thorough in demonstrating a strong understanding of the literature, theoretical foundations, and how the topic and findings directly tie to the literature (theory).

Congratulations, Dr. Barisich!

Learn more about the degree programs in the College of Doctoral Studies by visiting our website.


To support new-to-task teachers as they embark on their professional journey, many school districts in the United States implemented formal induction programs. The Arizona K-12 Center is a formal induction program that was implemented to stave teacher attrition and to support teacher professional development. […] Findings of the study suggest that mentoring improves the performance of novice teachers and staves off attrition.

Read the full abstract and dissertation here.


Barisich, D. G. (2014). Enhancing new teachers’ performance through mentoring: A phenomenological study (Order No. 3667770). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ Grand Canyon University; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection. (1647464034). Retrieved from here.

More about Dr. Berger:

Dr. Michael Berger has over a decade of experience in higher education and joined GCU in 2004. Dr. Berger participated in the teams that earned HLC accreditation for the current doctoral programs as head of curriculum design and development before moving to the College of Doctoral Studies in 2012. His dissertation focused on instructional techniques that online faculty can use to better connect with their students. He has presented at numerous regional and national conferences on the subjects of higher ed. assessment, online learning, and virtual doctoral education. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from the University of Dayton and he received his doctorate in education from GCU. He started his doctoral program five days after his daughter was born, so he has experienced firsthand trying to simultaneously balance school, family and full-time employment.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.