Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Senior-level Student Affairs' administrators' self-reported leadership practices, behaviors, and strategies
by Smith, Marsh Allen, Ed.D., University of Southern California, 2013, 128; 3564020
Abstract (Summary)

Universities are expanding and growing at rapid rates to meet the demand for higher education in America. The profession of student affairs serves as the beacon to help guide students outside of their classroom experience. In response to the changing campus climate, Student Affairs' divisions will be tapped to help shape university policy while meeting the academic and developmental needs of all students (Love, 2003). Student Affairs' departments require strong leadership in order to meet the needs of students financially, socially, and academically. Leading a Student Affairs' department is a senior-level administrator who is there to set vision, budgets, and help guide the Student Affairs' practitioners to engage students, develop an organizational culture, and meet the university's mission. This study examined how senior-level Student Affairs' administrators lead their Student Affairs' departments to build effective leaders and support new practitioners in developing their own leadership practices. Three research questions were used in this mixed-method study. The quantitative portion of this study was conducted through the Leadership Practices Inventory? (LPI) instrument which was sent to 40 senior-level Student Affairs administrators at two universities in California. The Leadership Practices Inventory © (LPI) survey has five fundamental leadership practices which are: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. These five fundamental leadership practices help leaders to create and accomplish extraordinary things (Kouzes and Posner, 1987). In the end, 23 senior-level Student Affairs' administrators completed the LPI survey. The qualitative portion of this research study used the technique of purposeful sampling in which four senior-level Student Affairs' administrators were selected to participate in a 30-minute standardized open-ended interview and answer questions about their beliefs and practices. The research study resulted in several key findings from data analysis. First, senior-level Student Affairs' leaders utilized Kouzes and Posner's (2003) leadership practice of Enabling Others to Act at high levels in their leadership styles. Second, the leadership practice of Inspiring a Shared Vision was the lowest utilized leadership practice by senior-level Student Affairs' leaders in this study. Third, senior-level Student Affairs' leaders utilized the themes of Relationship Building, Group Collaboration, Working towards a Common Goal, and Confronting Negative Behaviors in conjunction with LPI leadership practices to a high standard and perceived themselves to create a positive work environment. Fourth, senior-level Student Affairs' leaders perceive themselves as strong mentors, leaders, and trainers that pass on their leadership knowledge to the next generation of Student Affairs' practitioners through the themes of Role Modeling, Mentorships, and Support of Professional Developments in conjunction with LPI leadership practices.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Garcia, Pedro
Commitee: Castruita, Rudy, Collier, Bridget
School: University of Southern California
Department: Education (Higher and Post-Secondary Education)
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership, Higher education
Keywords: Leadership, Senior-level administrators, Student affairs administrators
Publication Number: 3564020
ISBN: 978-1-303-12575-1
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