Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Sorensen, Christine Knupp

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


Student affairs administrators--Training of--United States


Student affairs practitioners emanate from a variety of backgrounds, often entering the profession with little actual knowledge or training in the field. Professional development within student affairs is one of the primary remedies used to address those disparities. The chief student affairs officer (CSAO) at each institution continues to have the ultimate responsibility for professional development, so it was critical to gauge these officers' perceptions, attitudes, and recommendations regarding the subject. Included in the literature review were trends, practices, and models from areas in addition to student affairs. These were pre-kindergarten through grade 12, for-profit/business, not-for-profit organizations, and the academic side of higher education. Research for this study was predominantly quantitative in nature, using an instrument adapted from Judge Nero Kornegay's 1980 similar study. A 123-item electronic survey that focused on definition, current programs, policies, structures, focus, budget, frequency, motivational factors, communication methods, and evaluation of student affairs professional development was sent to CSAOs from four-year institutions across the United States. Seventeen research questions were developed from the survey. Summaries and findings to the 17 research questions are provided. Ten key themes emanated from the analyses of the data, along with literature review, and opinions that assisted in forming recommendations. These elements led to forming a recommended, comprehensive, professional development model. Primary findings include emphasizing the student learning connection to student affairs professional development, increasing knowledge of current students and their diversity, enhancing leader involvement in the process, and expanding professional development targets. Additional key themes and recommendations congruent with best practices are also included. By implementing all, or some, of the recommendations, student affairs professionals will be better able to respond to increasing demands related to improved programs and services for students.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 238-253).


xvi, 314 pages




Northern Illinois University

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