A case study of student affairs in professional schools / Kathleen B. Overly.

Overly, Kathleen B.
x, 182 p. : ill. ; 29 cm.
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- Education.
Education -- Penn dissertations.
Penn dissertations -- Higher education management.
Higher education management -- Penn dissertations.
The purpose of conducting this study is to explore how student affairs professionals in professional schools acquire the knowledge and skill set to be effective in such positions. The need for such research arose after a review of the literature revealed inattention to the practice of student affairs in professional schools.
Qualitative research methods were used to examine the roles and responsibilities of student affairs administrators in professional schools, the resources on which these individuals rely in developing their professional skills, and what types of knowledge and skills these professionals rely on to effectively perform their duties. Specifically, the following research questions were explored: what are the roles and responsibilities for student affairs administrators in professional schools; what types of knowledge and skills do these professionals rely upon to effectively perform their duties; and, what are the resources upon which these individuals rely in learning and developing such skills? Semi-structured interviews and document collection occurred with 20 student affairs professionals working in professional schools at a large private research university.
During analysis, four areas of responsibility for those working in student affairs emerged for professional schools at Jenning University: community responsibilities, career advising responsibilities, academic responsibilities, and crisis management. Participants discussed campus resources they utilized in performing their duties, and also expressed several ethical concerns that emerged in their roles. Four skill sets emerged as crucial to the effective performance of one's duties: interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, counseling skills, and political navigation skills. The professionals in this study were able to develop these skill sets by utilizing five particular techniques for professional development: formal educational background, on the job training, reliance on colleagues as a source of information and learning, utilization of professional associations, and feedback and mentoring from their colleagues.
These findings are important for those currently working in professional school student affairs or those who wish to enter the field, as they provide information to such persons about the skill set involved in the position and the resources that can help them develop this skill set. The findings also provide insight into the ways in which supervisors can assist their staff in finding professional development opportunities. Recommendations are offered to assist these constituencies in finding developmental opportunities. Finally, proposals for future research building on these findings are described.
Adviser: Shaun R. Harper.
Thesis (Ed.D. in Education) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Local notes:
University Microfilms order no.: 3510979.
Harper, Shaun R., advisor.
University of Pennsylvania.
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