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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring how resident advisors create meaning of their paraprofessional fall training and its transfer: A constructivist case study
by Kennedy, Dean F., Ph.D., University of Northern Colorado, 2009, 469; 3359124
Abstract (Summary)

Utilizing constructivist research methods, this case study explores how 12 Resident Advisors (RAs) make meaning of the Fall RA training experience, as well as the process of applying what they have learned in training to their living communities. While each RA experienced training and its transfer uniquely, five themes emerged connecting participants’ stories: the importance of developing peer relationships, awareness and influence of Resident Directors (RDs), RA experience over time, RA training structure, and RA training content remembered by RAs. Overall, the most critical components of Fall training identified by participants were opportunities to build relationships with their peers, learn from more experienced RAs, and directly apply what was learned during training.

Based on participants’ responses and the themes as they emerged, future research should be broadened beyond one university’s context to include other institutions varying by size, geographic location, and on-campus housing population in order to further learn how RAs make meaning of their training and post-training experiences. Research utilizing a longitudinal component, mixed methods, as well as focusing on individual and collective populations of RAs would add to existing literature in this area. Implications for practice are many. Training designers and supervisors need to connect Fall training to staff development opportunities during the year while continually seeking and including feedback from RAs. In addition, training sessions would likely be more meaningful to participants if team building activities were woven throughout the schedule to foster and strengthen relationships among all RAs. It is important to incorporate returning RAs’ perspectives into the design and implementation of training curricula as not only do they provide a significant knowledge base of the RA position, but new RAs look up to their more experienced peers and value their perspectives. Lastly, assessing participants’ learning preferences, abilities, and motivations will provide supervisors and training designers a wealth of information to assist in the enhancement of training curricula.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Guido-DiBrito, Florence
Commitee: Fahey, Kathleen, Rodriguez, Katrina, Tucker, Gardiner
School: University of Northern Colorado
Department: Higher Education & Student Leadership
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 70/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Curriculum development, Higher education
Keywords: College student learning, Constructivist case study, History of residential life, RA training, Resident Advisor, Training transfer
Publication Number: 3359124
ISBN: 978-1-109-18814-1
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