1 VOICES FROM THE FIELD: STORIES OF WOMEN WHO CHOSE TO LEAVE THEIR CAREERS AS STUDENT AFFAIRS PROFESSIONALS By LAURA H. WALTRIP A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Laura H. Waltrip
3 To my sister Beth, without whom I would not have finished
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Writing a dissertation is a solitary process, and yet one cannot do it alone. occasional margarita. As my chair told me, you must have practical to balance the theoretical and body and soul exercise to balance the mental exercise. Thank you t o everyone who has helped me finish this project. It takes a village. First and foremost, I thank my family and friends My parents, Lee and Lois, have always supported me and I remember my grandmothers telling me that I could be what I wanted to be so I had to figure that one need to thank my family for always believing. Mostly I thank my sister, Beth, and my Aunt Carole, both of whom took me in could not have done it without either and would be working on it still. I know they ese I was womp womp womp womp womp ) but I appreciate their letting me talk it through anyway To my committee chair, Dr. Luis Ponjuan, I owe the gr eatest debt of gratitude. He taught me how to do research and how to be a good teacher, and he believed in me, May the next chapter in his life be the greatest one yet. I mu st also thank Dr. Dale Campbell and Dr. Maryann Clark for agreeing to be on my committee when they already had overly full plates. Their encouragement and support kept me going. Finally, to my methodology guru, Dr. Mirka Koro subtle encouragement to go deeper into the data have made me a better researcher and writer, as I am sure was her intention. I hope that I have answered all of her
5 questions. Thank you also to the Qualitative Support Team, who truly live up to their name. Talking through qualitative questions with others experiencing the same thing is extremely beneficial. Thank you to Hannah, Holly, Emma, Jennifer, Aliya, Darby, Sun and all the others who came and went. They are all life savers. T o my cohort in the higher ed program. They kept me sane and in good spirits when both threatened to fail me. Lyle McKinney, my research team partner from the beginning. What an instantly comfortable fr iendship! Walking down Norman H all with him was an Shari Lupton Crandall, my qualitative study buddy and so much more. What Lyle lacked in methodology knowledge (quantoid that he is), she made up for in helping me see that my study a nd my heart truly belonged to qualitative research. She showed me my strengths in more ways than one. I wish we all could have finished together but we To my other hig her ed grad students, where would I be without them? Working the Futures Assembly was a blast and coffee or ice cream runs for study breaks kept me going. Jen, Tim, Kiwanis, Griselda, Zaria, Syraj, Nancy, Alee, Hongwei, Lian, the Chrises Mullin and Cooga n, Phil (and Cerian) Desi, Leaf, Tina, Matt, Mueen, David, Carlee, Cliff and JoCynda. They all added to my experience immensely and I appreciate every moment. I also appreciate all the hard work and encouragement from ELP/SHDOSE faculty and staff. Dr. S andeen is a treasure. Enough said. Drs. Gratto; the pleasure of attending their classes and working with them is something I cherish. Both of their outlooks and positivity are a model for me to aspire to. Dr. Mendoza; the department is
6 better for her j oining it. Finally, I would be nowhere without the hard work and friendship of Angela, the Pattys, Eileen and Candy. They keep everything running smoothly and we could not finish without their help! To my UF S tudent Affairs family, thanks for adopting m e as one of their own. General Kratzer, the inimitable Myra, Jeanna, Dean Gene and Dean Jen, Nancy and the student activities crew Cupoli, Lohse, Farouk, Mike and Jeannene, and friends: they welcomed me to tail gates and events and conference co presenta tions and I loved every minute of it. They kept me connected to the field that I was researching and to To my other UF COE colleagues who made my experience wonderful. Dr. Rod and to Dr. Ana Puig, who encourages all things magical and positive. They inspire me! To friends Sasha and Katie, who encouraged me to go to the Vancouver conference. What a team and what a presentatio n! Interdisciplinary teamwork, all the way. grounded and connected to Gainesville service (and social ) opportunities. Karen, the next to graduate; keep on keeping on. Robin, There sa, Michele, Jill, Ginger, Kristin, Briony, and all the wonderful ladies who kept my heart in the right place, I thank them To my SACSA sisters, Dr. Denisha Bonds, Dr. Colette Taylor and Dr. April Heiselt: their constant encouragement and words of advice helped me in numerous ways when only someone who had been through the process (outside my program) could help. To Sangria sisters, Jodi and Kelly, thanks for good food and good friends.
7 Thank you to my UWF and FSU families for getting me into student af fairs and McKinney and Joy Tompkins; I would not be the woman I am today without their influences. And to my former coworkers and students at Shorter College, now Uni versity, and UCF: they have made my life better for having worked with them. I would also like to thank Dr. Kristen Renn and Dr. Vicki Rosser, both of whom gave much time and attention in discuss ing my nascent proposal with me and steering me in the right direction based on their research and understanding of what is known and still need s to be learn ed about personal and professional issues within a student affairs career. Their input greatly helped shape this study. Finally, to my pilot and dissertation study participants, who welcomed me into their homes and work places and opened their hearts to me in sharing their memories. I appreciate their honesty and willingness to share their stories more than they will ever know. Thanks a re not enough but they are all that I have. Thank you.
8 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 11 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 12 LIST OF TERMS ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 13 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 15 CHAPTERS 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 17 Research Question ................................ ................................ ................................ 19 Brief History of Student Affairs as a Profession ................................ ...................... 20 Scope of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ 21 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 22 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERA TURE ................................ ................................ ............ 24 Career Turnover and Women ................................ ................................ ................. 24 Career Development Theories ................................ ................................ ......... 26 ................................ ................................ ........ 28 Career Turnover versus Job Turnover ................................ ................................ .... 31 Research on Student Affairs Professionals ................................ ............................. 33 Career Trajectories in Student Affairs ................................ .............................. 36 Women in Student Affairs ................................ ................................ ................. 38 Job Satisfaction in Student Affairs ................................ ................................ .... 42 Job Turnover in Student Affairs ................................ ................................ ........ 44 Conceptual Framework for My Study ................................ ................................ ...... 45 Self Efficacy ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 47 Job Satisfaction ................................ ................................ ................................ 48 Role Conflict ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 49 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 50 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 52 Epistemological and Theoretical Issues ................................ ................................ .. 54 Data Collection Process ................................ ................................ .......................... 57 Access and Rapport ................................ ................................ ......................... 57 Sampling Strategy ................................ ................................ ............................ 58 Interview Prot ocol Development ................................ ................................ ....... 59 Data Collection Procedures ................................ ................................ .............. 60
9 Demographic Information ................................ ................................ ................. 62 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 63 Methodological Rig or of Study ................................ ................................ ................ 66 Methodological Limitations ................................ ................................ ............... 68 Trustworthiness ................................ ................................ ................................ 69 Credibility ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 70 Transferability ................................ ................................ ............................ 71 Dependability an d confirmability ................................ ................................ 71 Subjectivity Statement ................................ ................................ ............................ 72 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 74 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 75 Description of Partici pants ................................ ................................ ...................... 76 Title Stories ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 77 ................................ ........... 80 Affairs. ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 90 To the Feeling Of Being Needed. ................. 100 My Child. ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 109 ................................ .......................... 115 Ask. ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 128 ................................ ........................... 134 ................................ ........................... 139 ....................... 145 Commonalities ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 151 What Sparked Your Interest in a Career in Student Affairs? .......................... 152 What Was Your Most Satisfying Work Experience in Student Affairs? ........... 153 What Was Your Least Satisfying Work Experience in Student Affairs? .......... 156 Unethical behavior ................................ ................................ ................... 157 Unsafe behav ior ................................ ................................ ....................... 158 ................................ ................................ 159 Issues ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 162 Feeling Unprepared ................................ ................................ ........................ 163 Perception V ersus Reality of Student Affairs Work ................................ ........ 166 Conflicts Between Work Life and Non work Life ................................ ............. 168 When Did You Know You Wanted to Leave Your Student Affairs Career? ........... 170 Final Thoughts on Having a Career in Student Affairs ................................ .......... 1 75 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 180 5 DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS ................................ ................................ ........ 182 Reasons These Women Chose to Enter Careers in Student Affairs ..................... 183 Reasons These Women Chose to Leave Their Student Affairs Careers .............. 185 Unanswered Questions ................................ ................................ ......................... 188
10 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 194 6 RECOMMENDATIONS ................................ ................................ ......................... 196 Implications for Student Affairs Staff and Administration ................................ ...... 196 Implications for Graduate Preparation Programs ................................ .................. 198 Implications for Professional Associations ................................ ............................ 200 Future Research ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 201 APPENDIX A IRB PROTOCOL FOR PILOT S TUDY ................................ ................................ .. 204 B INTERVIEW PROTOCOL F OR PILOT STUDY ................................ .................... 206 C IRB PROTOCOL FOR DIS SERTATION STUDY ................................ .................. 207 D INTERVIEW PROTOCOL F OR DISSERTATION STUD Y ................................ .... 210 E EMAIL RECRUITMENT SC RIPT FOR KEY INFORMA NTS ................................ 211 F EMAIL RESPONSE TO PO TENTIAL PARTICIPANTS ................................ ........ 212 G INFORMED CONSENT FOR DISSERTATION STUDY ................................ ....... 213 H PARTICIPANT NARRATIV E TABLE ................................ ................................ .... 214 I STORY ANALYSIS TABLE ................................ ................................ ................... 221 J TRANSCRIPT OF STORY ................................ ................................ .................... 252 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 253 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 267
11 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Sample Demographics ................................ ................................ ....................... 63
12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 field .... 46
13 LIST OF TERMS C AREER DEVELOPMENT The activities and positions involved in vocations, occupations and jobs, as well as related activities associated with an C AREER PATH Social Learning Model for career decision making, multiple factors such as genetics, environmental conditions and events, learning experiences (self observation, world view generalizations, and skills and actions) interact to produce a particular career p ath for each individual (Brown & Brooks, 1990, p. 161). C AREER TURNOVER Employees departing their current vocation or occupation to go into a different field (Blau, 1989). In this context it would mean people completely leaving the field of student affai rs and higher education. CSAO Chief Student Affairs Office; typically a vice president of student affairs, also called VPSA. G RADUATE PREPARATION PROGRAM typically within a College of Education higher education or counselor education program. I NSTITUTION TYPE For the purposes of this study, four year, not for profit public or private institutions of higher education, as opposed to community or two year colleges or for profit institutions J OB SATISFACTION J OB TURNOVER yment with a given company either b y the organization (involuntar y dismissal) or the individual (voluntar heavily influenced by motivational factors (such as work attitudes) while involuntary turnover is more influenc ed by P ROFESSIONAL / PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION Personal administration is the supervision or administration of personnel work. Deans of colleges coordinate personnel administration for academic departments, and student affairs directors and vice presidents (CSAO) coordinate personnel administration for student affairs professional staff (Cowley, 1983, p. 61).
14 S TUDENT PERSONNEL Name for staff devoted to out of class programs and services (i.e. faculty limited their focus to academic growth of students and to research, i.e. the original name for student affairs. sponsored by an education al institution, aside from curricular S TUDENT DEVELOPMENT Preferred name for the student affairs profession in the late 1960s when services to student s were expanded to include whole student learning rather than focusing primarily on vocational development (Barr & Desler, 2000). S TUDENT AFFAIRS Title for the profession since the late 1980s when vice presidents of student affairs (VPSA) replaced earlie r deans of men and deans of women, upon growing acceptance of student affairs as a major division of higher education institutions (Barr & Desler, 2000). ACPA Association for College Personnel Administrators, one of two national generalist professional a ssociations for student affairs professionals. NASPA National Association for Student Personnel Administrators, the other national generalist professional association (as opposed to specialist associations for student affairs areas such as orientation, h ousing, etc.). SACSA Southern Association for College Student Affairs, a regional generalist professional association for student affairs professionals.
15 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy VOICES FROM THE FIELD: STORIES OF WOMEN WHO CHOSE TO LEAVE THEIR CAREERS AS STUDENT AFFAIRS PROFESSIONALS By Laura H. Waltrip August 2012 Chair: Luis Ponjuan Major: Higher Education Administration This study examined the experiences of nine female former student affairs professionals who chose to leave their student affairs careers. Semi structured in depth interviews were conducted with each participant, usi ng narrative analysis grounded in the feminist paradigm (Grbich, 2007; Nicholson & Pasque, 2011). From a backdrop of related research ( Bandura, 1977; Betz & Fitzgerald, 1987; Fassinger, 2002 ), interview probes guided the examination of personal and profes sional experiences that led these women to choose to leave their student affairs careers. Data revealed multiple narratives that were used to describe the experiences in response to the research purpose. Findings indicated that all of the participants exp erienced role conflict between work and non work (i.e. home life) responsibilities, and that a number of other personal and professional reasons led each to make a conscious decision to leave their student affairs career. Personal reasons included the nee d to spend time with spouse and children; professional reasons included low pay and, for many participants, unsavory work environments. A combination of motives led to the rejection of their student affairs careers in favor of motherhood and/or higher pay ing jobs elsewhere.
16 Through these narratives, my study provides important insights into the experiences and decisions of women who chose to leave their student affairs careers. I hope these insights will provide valuable information for student affairs pr actitioners, administrators and supervisors, for graduate preparation programs, for student affairs professional associations, and for future research. S tudent affairs could benefit from reconsidering work expectations, with an eye toward family friendly work policies such as flexible work time and fewer expectations of late work hours. Further research is needed to consider whether men, particular fathers, in student affairs experience the same concerns with role conflict, as well as for job satisfaction concerns of student affairs professional s of color.
17 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION accident or by quirk, 1987, p. 5). Since the student affairs profession may be unknown to most undergraduates prior to entering college, often the profession only becomes a career possibility after a student has experienced collegiate life or after a student affairs professio nal recommends it to them (Hunter, 1992; Taub & McEwen, 2006). Once enrolled in a student affairs graduate program, they may experience some challenges redefining themselves as professionals rather than as students. Consequently new student affairs profe ssionals may have a difficult transition into their first student affairs position (Renn & Hodges, 2007). These potentially difficult transitions may have implications for subsequent lower levels of job satisfaction and potential for job or career turnove r. Moreover, similar to other occupations, new professionals in student affairs may Anger, 2008; Kersaint, Lewis, Potter & Meisels, 2007) as well as in search of promo tion or advancement (Sagaria, 1988). Since most mid level positions in student affairs require increasingly diverse work experiences, most student affairs professionals need to change institutions in order to advance (McClellan & Stringer, 2009). Thus ca reer mobility is frequently necessary for promotion in this field. This may require the physical and emotional upheaval of moving to a new city and workplace where one has to make new friends and connections. If one has a spouse or children, that move may be especially difficult (Sagaria, 1988)
18 However, whether leaving an institution due to difficult working conditions or pursuing greater opportunities at other institutions, the sum total of professionals in the field remains unchanged. In contrast, whe n student affairs professionals decide to leave higher education to pursue an unrelated career field, there are various damaging results. First, the field loses the next generation of student affairs professionals. Also, the professional has personal los ses of time, energy and money devoted to entering the field and then leaving it. R egardless of the reasons for staff departure, institutions must of lower morale in remaining staff and loss of institutional history (Jo, 2008, p. 565). The job migration of student affairs professionals may be related to working conditions or to individuals seeking new opportunities at other institutions. Work related activities such as dealing with difficult people or situations may cause the stress of emotional dissonance, which has been related to ill health and job burnout (Dollard, Dormann, Boyd, Winefield, & Winefield, 2003). These work related challenges are especially stressf new student affairs professionals in particular, this may lead to lower levels of job satisfaction (Renn & Hodges, 2007). These negative outcomes suggest that more research is needed t o understand why student affairs professionals decide to leave their chosen profession. However, in a field that continually feeds in new professionals from graduate preparation programs, much is known about their professional experiences and job satisfac tion but little is known about those who may choose to leave the field. personal communication, April 2, 2009).
19 There is a paucity of studies on the topic of career turnov er in student affairs. Early r esearch on attrition in student affairs indicates that retention is anywhere from 3 2 % to 64% within seven with one cohort losing 90% of their graduates from the field (Hancock, 1988). Some newer research indicates that new professionals have lower job satisfaction than those who reach mid level administrative levels (V. Rosser, personal communication, March 3, 2009; Johnsrud & Rosser, 1997). Moreover, many job satisfaction stud ies indicate that women report lower levels of job satisfaction in student affairs than men (Anderson, Guido DeBrito & Morrell, 2000). The literature is unclear as to whether these are related. Thus, more needs to be understood about the reasons women ch oose to leave the student affairs profession. Research Question This qualitative dissertation study seek s to explore why women former student affairs professional s chose to leave their initially chosen student affairs related careers in hig her education The research question guiding this dissertation study Why do women former s tudent a ffairs professionals choose to leave the ir initially chosen careers in student affairs I utilized n arrative analysis to explore issues addressed by study participan ts as they relate d stories of their career experiences and aspects of the (Riessman 1993, p 4). This study allow ed learn from their decisions and experiences. Participants were limited to women who left their student affairs careers within the first six years, in order to focus on issue s that
20 may specifically relate to gender and/or newer professionals. It is also limited to former student affairs professionals who live within the southeastern United States. Brief History of Student Affairs as a Profession A s a profession s tudent affa irs has existed since American colleges and universities expanded beyond the original, traditional role of religious and civic education for privileged young white men and began providing a range of educational opportunities to a variety of students As h igher educational institutions and students diversified and faculty began to focus on research, college presidents started appointing deans of men and deans of women to fill roles of disciplinarian, vocational guidance counselor, and eventually much more (Komives & Woodard, 1996). In 1937 stud ent affairs work which acted as a set of guiding assumptions for the creation of graduate programs to prepare student affairs professionals (ACE, 1994). T he scope and specialization of functions within student affairs divisions expanded greatly after Wo rld War II when the G.I. Bill established t he concept of universal access to American higher education (McClelland & Stringer, 2009). Later, c hanging political and social perspectives during the 1960s and 1970s created more formal and legalistic relations hips between institutions of higher education and students, causing further expans i on of specialized roles for Great Society policies and civil rights legislation, judicial intervention, the Vietnam War, and a change in t he age of majority fueled student activism on many campuses and forced a reassessment of the relations Duties that previously had been filled by faculty or a few administrators became delegated to multi ple professional and paraprofessional staff, including areas such as
21 admissions, housing and residence life personal and academic counseling, orientation, student activities, and support services for increasing numbers and varieties of student groups (Kom ives & Woodard, 1996). The growth of student affairs as a profession mirrored growth in job opportunities for women in the United States, as labor markets opened to admit women replacing men fighting in the war (Hughes, 1994). In higher education women began to fill roles previously held by men, which now included additional responsibilities for entering women students. However, as working women became more accepted in the American labor market, they tended to fill jobs that required less skill, freeing academic administrators. Similarly, when male professors and administrators oved in to pick increasingly attracting women (Turrentine & Conley, 2001), and women hold more positions in all levels of student affairs except at the vice president level ( Nid iffer & Bashaw, 2001; Walker, Reason & Robinson, 2003) Scope of the Study Research indicates that higher education campus climates and professional work life vary by institutional type (Hirt mission and values and can greatly affect the work environment. Therefore, I will limit the scope of this study to women who worked at four year, public or private not for profit institutions and who le ft their student affairs careers prior to mid career (i.e. within also limit the study to women currently living within the southeastern United States to
22 allow for tra vel for conducting interviews in person. Participants were asked to narrate their work experiences that relate to their decision to enter and then to leave the field. By conducting interviews I was able to explore the experiences that led to participant decisions to leave their chosen career, in order to get a better understanding of those decisions. We can better understand career turnover for women former student affairs professionals only by asking those who have left the field what led to that dec ision. This is an important study for student affairs professionals because it can lend insight into determining ways to keep professionals in the field rather than having them leave, only to be replaced by newer professionals who need additional trainin g and time to get acclimated to the institution. This study offers four key contributions to the research and professional practice literature. This study will contribute to the student affairs literature by sharing the stories of those who have chosen t o leave the field, in particular women who left before mid career. Answers to why student affairs professionals leave their careers will be found only by following them after their career change. Chapter Summary Career experiences of student affairs professionals are relatively unexplored in empirical student affairs or higher education research literature. While the reasons some enter the profession have been examined, few researchers have explored why some professionals, especially women, choose to leave their initially chosen careers in student affairs. This study seeks to explore this gap by gathering the narratives of women who chose to leave their student affairs careers within their first six years in the field. Since much less is known about this study will add to the extant literature on both the student affairs profession and
23 their student affairs careers after working no more than six years in four year, public or private not for profit colleges and universities within the southeastern United States. In C hapter 2 I address career development theories and whether they accurately paths, as well as current research on student affairs professionals. Finally, I discuss the literature on student affairs and job satisfaction within the profession and, in particular, that of women an d new professionals.
24 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE In order to gain a thorough understanding of relevant issues pertaining to this study, I provide an extensive review of the following extant student affairs, higher education and related r e search The first section address es career development and relevant career development theories. The next section of the chapter review s literature on the distinction between job turnover and career turnover. Following that is a b rief overview of studies on various points along a career path in student affairs, from graduate school to the first job, to mid level and senior level professional, followed by a review of literature on careers of women in student affairs. Then informati on on job satisfaction and job turnover within student affairs is addressed. Finally, I present a conceptual framework for th is quali tative narrative analysis study Career Turnover and Women While much research on job turnover or career turnover has be en conducted in corporate settings (i.e. non higher education work environments ) less has been explored in higher education settings. Beyond that, only a small fraction of the research on job turnover in higher education has focused in staff, in general, and student affairs staff in particular. A few of the studies addressing attri tion or intent to leave in student affairs professionals (Burns, 1982; Evans, 1988; Hancock, 1988; Holmes, Verrier & Chisholm, 1983; Johnsrud, Heck & Rosser, 2000; Johnsrud & Rosser, 1997; Kortegast & Hamrick, 2009; Lorden, 1998; Rosser & Javinar, 2003; Tu ll, 2006; Ward, 1995) have specifically focused on women (Jo, 2008; Marshall, Hughes, Lowery, & Moore, 2006; Sagaria, 1988). Of the attrition studies, only three have examined career turnover (Burns, 1982; Jo, 2008; Marshall, Hughes, Lowery, & Moore, 2006 ).
25 Employee job satisfaction and the factors that lead to job turnover have been expl ain what makes employees productive and happy on the job. From the Hawthorne hygiene theory about worker needs (1959), researchers have long speculated on job satisfaction in employees ( Hershey, Blanchard & Johnson, 2001). More recently, theorists have utilized turnover models to study specific individual and institutional factors that lead to job turnover. Some have attempted to explain causality, though many look at only a few variable insight into the complex factors which are likely to be involved (Muchinsky & Tuttle, 1979, p. 66). Many do not distinguish between voluntary and involuntary turnover, which is also prob lematic (Muchinsky & Tuttle, 197 9 ). Therefore, it is important to accurately define types of turnover for the purposes of this study. Job t me studies distinguish between voluntary turnover (i.e. quitting or leaving) and involuntary turnover (i.e. being fired), according to Muchinsky and Tuttle (1979) too few ar e explicit as to which, or both, is their focus Very few further delineate volunt ary turnover between those le aving an organization and those leaving a career (Doering & Rhodes, 1996). This key element will be addressed in my study by examining the stories of women who voluntarily chose to leave their careers in student affairs. A br ief review of career development literature will be addressed next
26 Career Development Theories Early theories of career development were created for the purpose of vocational guidance, with the initial idea being to study the individual, study the occupation, and then match the individual to the right occupation, which later came to be known as Trai t and Factor theory (Parsons, 1909, as cited in Zunker, 1994). Following major studies of World War II veteran career patterns in the 1950s and 1960s, the trait and factor theory was deemed to be too narrow in scope (Zunker, 1994). It was expanded upon using psycholog y based developmental theories that assumed career development to be a process that occurs over a life span rather than a one time choice. Several major career development theories stemmed from research on Caucasian male participants. The persons and wo view vocational behavior as a life spanning activity, thus expanding upon the trait and Super, 1996). development was released. Changes in the perception of adult development in the 1960s and 1970s helped expand career to the view point of a series or progression of jobs over the adult life cycle, and not necessarily within one organization (Gutek & Larwood, 1987). Career fit theories led to theories about motivation for work (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959) and work adjustment (L oftquist & Dawis, 1969), or changes within a career after the initial choice
27 is made. This began the inclusion of perspectives outside of individual/worker characteristics and organizational/job characteristics. However, these models still were developed (Fitzgerald & Rounds, 1994, p. 329). In 1976 Super again adjusted his theory to include a li fe spanning approach to career development to place more focus on the non work roles played by a person over a lifetime, including roles of spouse, parent, retiree, etc. This expanded scope, called a Life Career Rainbow, attempted to balance the multiple roles people play throughout their lives that impact their choices (Super, 1976). Super expanded his theory once again in 1980 to help conceptualize not only the various roles one plays throughout a community, school, and workplace (Super, 1980). While this expanded concept allowed he time of his death (Nevill, 1997). Also its complexity has made it difficult to tease out gender differences in thoughts about how family and work roles are conducted (Phillips & Imhoff, 1997). More recently, cognitive theories were proposed that focus e d on cognition processes used to make vocational decisions within the context of the social environment, i.e. expanding beyond just the worker and the job (Fassinger, 2005). These theories include d a social learning approach to career selection (Krumboltz Mitchell & Jones, 1976), the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) (Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1994), and a self efficacy theory for career development (Hackett & Betz,
28 tha t people learn from one another via observation, imitation, and modeling. Mitchell and Krumboltz further developed the social learning approach to career selection (1990) in an attempt to simplify the process of career selection based on influential life events. ices (Bierema, 1998). Women tend to have primary care giving responsibilities in addition to work responsibilities, which may add a layer of complexity to their career patterns not I examined development to account for their unique challenges for balancing work and family obligations Traditional views in the American vocational guidance field suggested that women were not seriously interested in careers, as they w ould eventually quit their jobs to become wives and mothers (Gutek & Larwood, 1987). These researchers indicate that when women began to fill jobs during the World Wars and afterward, the prevailing thought was that they would leave them when men returned Therefore, career development for women was not studied or was examined only to determine how they departed from the college educated, Caucasian male (Gutek & Larwood, 1987). Many career theorists later attempted to include women in their theories, ass uming women would eventually begin to behave more like men in the development of their careers, or that simple modification to the theories to account for marriage and child bearing would
29 development constructs that were created based on male career patterns are not well suited to women due to lack of consideration of the socialization process in developing is limited or presumed to be limited based on race, gender, cultural background or other factors, occupa tional choice is restricted. Thus gender and other role socialization potential vocational interests (Bierema, 1998). Self research supports the importance of self efficacy to a wide range of vocational variables including vocational aspirations, academic success, career barriers, vocational interests, outcome expectations, occupational congrue efficacy affects not only their academic and occupational choices, but also performance and persistence within those chosen roles (Betz & Hackett, 1997). In additi on to workplace issues, acceptability of certain care er options (Fassinger, 2005). Researchers argue that w y if certain career fields are deemed outside the realm of what is appropriate or satisfactory or even possible, given multiple roles of worker, wife and mother. Thus women may limit their own career choices prior to or early within their career developme nt process (Bierema, 1998). Th us I utilized a narrative analysis in this study to explore these issues more critically
30 affected by the multiple roles they play, and the expect ations they and others have for them within those roles. Being a wife and mother still has different work implications than being a husband and father (Gutek & Larwood, 1987). The authors indicate d that dual career families still tend to favor the husban better offers and pay, and that discrimination and stereotyping are still issues in They argued that a ll of these may affect the choices women make regarding their careers, both in choos ing whether to enter a career and later in choosing whether to remain in it. Another issue for women and, more increasingly, for careers in general, is that careers no longer resemble linear pathways. The traditional career development models were formula ted on the assumption that people found a job they liked and stayed there, moving up along a linear progression within that organization. This model rarely fits the current American workplace, where people interrupt or change jobs or careers for reasons t hat may be beyond the work itself (Bierema, 1998). While changing or leaving jobs or occupations in order to have children has always been disappear for workers who were h appy to stay in them. Thus, traditional career models path (Bierema, 1998, p. 8). how wom vocational aspirations were proposed in 1981 by Gottfredson and by Hackett and Betz.
31 based on information they get from their environment, mainly their parents and teachers (Brown, 2002). However, her theory has been criticized because it does not address efficacy c oncept to the career development of women (1981) received more support but aspirations (Phillips & Imhoff, 1997). career development have Farmer, 1985; Farmer & Associates, 1997). However, they are not well studied either due to vague operational definitions of key variables (Astin, 1984) or measurement 2001; Fassinger, 2002; Fassinger, 2005) have not been tested to understand this issue. My study seeks to explore the career paths of women who worke d in student affairs and then chose to leave their careers. Thus I will address literature on career turnover before discussing literature on women in student affairs. Career Turnover versus Job Turnover More recent t urnover literature has included studie s on intent to change careers rather than intent to cha nge jobs, with several studies being conducted in the 1970s and 1980s ( Armstrong, 1981; Gottfredson, 1977; Hill & Miller, 1981; Neopolitan, 1980; Thomas, 1980 ). Not surprisingly, the theoretical frame works for career turnover are similar to those in job turnover literature by utilizing Fishbein and A j z reasoned action (1975) and /or a review of job turnover models, Rhodes and Doering indicate d that recent models of
32 job turnover focus more on the decision process and were not used to differentiate between job turnover and career turnover (Doering & Rhodes, 1996 ). They created a model (Rhodes & Doering, 1983 ) that add ed to previous ones by distinguishing those who leave their job but stay within their career field (i.e. job p. 153). They found that career leavers had higher desirabi lity of movement (less satisfaction lower income, fewer promotions and lower role clarity) and ease of movement (younger, less tenure, more available opportunities) than either stayers or job changers (p. 167). occupational turnover data (Blau, 2007). Citing the difficulty of collecting occupational change data as a reason most studies focu s on intent to change occupations, Blau utilized data from a longitudinal study of career paths of medical technologists who had been surveyed annually for 10 years after graduation. He found organizational turnover to be distinct from occupational turnov er and that occupational satisfaction was a signifi cant correlate for both Work exhaustion was also found to be significant. Blau occupation will continue their basic job duti es, they may view simply changing jobs as These studies have provided some insight into job turnover and, more importantly career turnover. However, the knowledge base on career turnover is still in its infancy and there is much more to be learned. It is now estimated that the typical 35
33 year old will change careers three times and that those under 35 may change jobs every one to three years (Bolles, 2006). Whether gender factors into career turnover ha s yet to be examined. However, with linear career paths becoming less frequent, even for men (Bolles, 2006), career turnover will probably be studied more in the near future with non linear career paths such as those of most women becoming more effectivel y examined. Based on the current literature, t he complexities of the process of career turnover across time has been largely studied using cross sectional resea Koberg & McArthur, 1984, p. 93). Perhaps longitudinal research study designs or additional more detailed qualitative studies into the decision process would be useful. Additional research that includes more recent career transition trends should be conducted to distinguish between job turnover and career turnover. Academic staff and, particular ly, student affairs staff have r arely been studied in regards to career turnover. Therefore, I will expand the extant lite women who left their student affairs careers. Research on Student Affairs Professionals Few higher education researchers have focused on the s tudent a ffairs profession, and only a handful address issues o f attrition or career turnover. While many student affairs researchers mention attrition in the field as an important issue (Evans, 1988; Lorden, 1998; Marshall, Hughes, Lowery & Moore, 2006; Rosser & Javinar, 2003; Tull, 2003; Tull, 2006; Ward, 1995), fe w have studied it directly. Most references to attrition or turnover in student affairs are reported in relation to studies of job satisfaction ( Anderson, Guido DiBrito & Morell, 2000; Blackhurst, Brandt &
34 Kalinowski, 1998; Cook, 2006 ) or stress (Berwick, 1992; Scott, 1992; Scott & Spooner, 1989 ) While many of these studies are dated, more recent dissertation studies have focused on chief student affairs officers (Dale, 2007; Emmett, 2005; Quiles, 1998) or mid level professionals (Barnett, 1997; Corral, 2009; Houdyshell, 2007) and do not add to relevant information on women within their first six years in the field or on new professionals in general. Other studies are narrower in focus by sampling only African American student affairs professionals (Hint on, 2001) or those from a particular type of institution (Murphy, 2001). A literature review of studies on student affairs or higher education administration grad uate programs (Hancock, 1988) reported attrition rates from multiple studies, with findings an ywhere between 32% (Wood, Winston & Polkosnik, 1985), 51% (Burns, 1982), and 61% to 90% (Holmes, Verrier & Chisholm, 1983) within seven years after professionals (Renn & Hodges, 2 007; Tull, 2006) or mid level professionals (Johnsrud, Heck & Rosser, 2000) regard ing intend ing to leave the profession. Renn and Hodges (2007) followed one class of student affairs masters students through their first professional year and found issues mentioned in previous studies : transition to professional life, professional development opportunities, learning the cult ure of their new institution. They also found that these new professionals expected their supervisors to mentor them, which was not always the case. However, no one in their study expressed thoughts about leaving the field. Tull (2006) surveyed 435 student a ffairs new professionals, defined by him as those with fewer than 5 years in the field, about their supervisory experiences and found
35 significant correlation between quality of supervision and intent to leave the field. definition of new profession als overlaps different timeframes defined by others in the field. For many researchers, three to five years in a student affairs career ( Renn & Jessup Anger, 2008; Tull, 2003) M id career is defined t o be when professionals are working at mid level administrative positions, rather than after an approximate number of years in the field ( Ackerman, 2007; Johnsrud, Heck & Rosser, 2000; Renn & Hughes, 2004 ; Rosser & Javinar, 2003 ). According to V. Rosser ( personal communication, March 3, 2009 ), most professionals who remain in student affairs after seven years tend to stay for the duration of their careers. Thus I determined to use a six year approximate timeframe for women in this study to bridge the gap between new professional and probable mid career and/or life long professionals A recent qualitative study of former student affairs professionals found that stress or burnout was the factor listed most frequently under reasons for leaving ( Marshall, H ughes, Lowery, & Moore, 2006 ). The study found that 70% of respondents listed weekend and evening job commitments as common, with more than half calling their few was so stressed and burnt out my health was beginning to be affected. I got migr aine For mid level professionals, Johnsrud, Heck and Rosser (2000) found that quality of relationships with supervisors, opportunities for career development and
36 advancement, and recognition for good work all correla ted to job turnover intent. So satisfaction or intent to leave their job or career. However, few studies have explored experiences of those who actually left the student a ffairs profession and specifically for female student affairs professionals The topic of career paths or trajectories within student affairs has mostly been studied by surveying chief student affairs officers about their experiences as they reflect on their careers. While few, if any, published studies have followed student affairs professionals for more than a few years after graduate school, several have focused on particular times within a career trajectory (i.e. new professional, mid level professi onal, senior level professional or CSAO). A brief review of literature on different points along a career path in student affairs follows. Career Trajectories in Student Affairs In an early survey of masters students in higher education/student affairs graduate preparation programs, four factors influenced their decision to enter the field: encouragement by those already in the field, shared values with those in the field, a criti cal incident or experience that led to choosing student affairs work such as being a resident assistant or having a student job in another area of student affairs, and a desire to improve campus life (Hunter, 1992). In relation to the experience or incide nt critical A more recent study had similar findings. In a survey of 300 mas ters students from 24 graduate preparation programs, participants reported the following as helpful sources that they used to obtain information about a career in student affairs: talking with a
37 student affairs professional, working in student affairs as a n undergraduate, holding a student leadership position, involvement in student activities, and working as a peer helper (Taub & McEwen, 2006). Thus many students enter graduate school based on their undergraduate collegiate experiences and the influence f rom a current student affairs professional. A study of new professionals throughout their first year in student affairs found three overarching themes: relationships, fit, and competence (Renn & Hodges, 2007). New professionals were excited at how suppor tive new colleagues were and how quickly students accepted them as professionals. Later on, self confidence as a professional overcame initial fears of being able to do the job. Fit within the institution, and within the field of student affairs, became more or less evident as the initial excitement of finding a job gave way to day to day realities of the work. At the end of the first year, participants were mostly confident in their abilities and were establishing supportive relationships outside of wor k. The authors concluded that the new studying how individuals utilize self efficacy as a fac tor to explain why they leave the student affairs profession. Interestingly, Rosser and Javinar (2003) studied midlevel student affairs practitioners and found that length of time working at an institution had a direct negative correlation on job satisfa ction, in that morale and job satisfaction decreased the longer they worked at one institution. However, these midlevel administrators had higher salaries and did not indicate that they intended to leave. Since other work life
38 conditions such as benefits retirement plans, and access to parking had a positive impact on job satisfaction and morale, the authors theorized that many midlevel administrators have enough reasons to stay at their particular institutions and thus in the field of student affairs. reported differences by gender for marital status, care giving role, and work experience aspects of (1984). Further, all five women CSAOs reported dealing with gender bias or discrimination at their current institutions or earlier in their careers, whereas the five men CSAOs reported no personal experiences of discrimination. This suggests that this may be a more complex is sue that warrants additional research Based on the current research on career pathways, between the inspiration to choose student affairs as a career field and the decision to leave it, there is something that occurs to some female student affairs profess ionals that needs further study. These and other studies have led me to consider the multiplicity of aspects that may qualitative study is the best option to explore these issues. The extant literature on Women in Student Affairs Women make up a majority of student affairs professionals (Hughes, 1994; Nidiffer & Bashaw, 2001; Walker, Reason & Robinson, 2003). In fac t, once colleges and universities transitioned from providing parochial training for elite young men to meeting multiple needs of various constituents of students ( e.g. students of color, women, former military men) deans of women and deans of students out numbered
39 deans of men, and their roles transformed into the variety of student affairs roles that exist today (Rentz, 1994 ) In recent history m ore women than men enter graduate programs in higher education administration and/or student personnel, the two major entry and mid level positions in student affairs as well (McEwen, Engstrom & Williams, 1990; Turrentine & Conley, 2001). Because of the prevalence of women in student affairs and previously mentioned research that indicates lower job satisfaction for women in this field, I have chosen to focus on women in this dissertation study. Several studies have examined the careers of women in student affairs ( Anderson, 1 998; Blackhurst, Brandt, & Kalinowski, 1998 ; Evans, 1988; Jo, 2008 ; Scott & Spooner, 1989; Spurlock, 2009; Wilson, 2000) with so me specifically focused on women with children (Marshall, 2009; Nobbe & Manning, 1997 ). An early exploratory study of attrition in women student affairs administrators examined 24 women at various points in their careers (Evans, 1988). Evans found that younger, unmarried women were more likely to have continuous career paths in student affairs as compared to older and/or married women. More recently, the topic of women in student affairs has been explored in dissertation studies. One dissertation examined the public and private lives of nine women chief student affairs officers (CSAOs) (Spurlock, 2009). This study sought to determine whether gender influenced CSAO to what extent their private and public/work lives intersect ed and their perspectives on the cost of achieving the role of CSAO Each woman discussed her perceptions of mentors or lack the reof, and support systems that helped her during her career, as well as discriminatory incidents or
40 relationships that held her back. Respondents reported that they were happy with their lives and their choices However, all reported some type of health issue and that others viewed their choices negatively. Both of these results may imply high levels of stress for women administrators and possible role conflict that may have played a part in their career decisions In studies specifically addressing wome n student affairs administrators with children (Marshall, 2009; Nobbe & Manning, 1997) respondents reported using various coping strategies to juggle work and family issues, with many indicating they chose to forego advanced degrees or jobs that would requ ire relocating their family However, most of these participants were happy with their choices and indicated that they could work towards the ir career goals later in life when their children were less in need of attention ( Marshall, 2009 ) However, many reported feeling the need to hide their exhaustion or difficulties upon returning to work after having a child. The authors surmised that some women who leave the field in order to have children may have difficulty returning (Nobbe & Manning, 1997). One study of women in student affairs explored 10 women perceptions of their status at public research universities (Kuk & Donovan, 2004). These authors found that almost all of the women, across age groups and career levels, reported struggli ng to find balance in their lives. Other studies have also reported inter role conflict between the roles of wife and/or mother and a professional position in student affairs ( Marshall, Hughes, Lowery, & Moore, 2006; Anderson, 1998; Berwick, 1992; Scott, 1992). This seems to be pertinent to the question of job satisfaction, at least for women in the field.
41 In a literature review focused on job satisfaction, life satisfaction, and stress among student affairs administrators (Anderson, Guido DiBrito & Morre ll, 2000), the authors cite several studies on stress in student affairs that found women reported higher stress levels than men (Berwick, 1992; Scott, 1992; Scott & Spooner, 1989). They determined that stressors for men were almost exclusively work relat ed, while those for women included stressors for both work and home. The authors theorized that family and home related stressors for women are not felt by men as frequently and may add to the levels of stress indicated by women in general and women stude nt affairs professionals in particular. It would seem that some positions in student affairs are more stressful than others, or that some people have more resources to deal with both work and family related stressors. While much of this research has indi cated that women in the field tend to have more stress than men, more women are entering the field than men and hold more positions at every level except the chief student affairs officer (McEwen, Engstrom & Williams, 1990 ). New professionals, in particul ar, may not have the self confidence or perspective of authority necessary to deal with difficult people or situations in their positions (Renn & Hodges, 2007). While this self efficacy comes with experience, it might also need to be addressed more effect ively in graduate preparation programs. More research is needed to determine how those who flourish in this field are able to do so while others determine that it is not the career for them. Gaining insight into the latter group may lead to professional development or changes in graduate training programs to better enable new professionals to stay in the field. Of
42 the many concepts that enter into a decision to leave a career, job satisfaction is most often cited in the job and ca reer turnover literature. Job Satisfaction in Student Affairs Several studies have addressed the topic of job satisfaction among student affairs professionals ( Anderson, Guido DiBrito & Morell, 2000; Bender, 1980; Cook, 2006; Hirt, 2006; Johnsrud & Rosser, 1997; Kuk & Donovan, 2004). Many have examined either new professionals (Barham & Winston, 2006; Davidson, 2009; Magolda & Carnaghi, 2004; Renn & Hodges, 2007; Renn & Jessup Anger, 2008; Tull, 2006; Ward, 1995; Wood, Winston & Polkosnik, 1985 ), chief student affairs officers (Anderson, 1998; Scott, 1992; Spurlock, 2009), or mid level professionals (Davidson, 2009; Garza Mitchell & Eddy, 2008; Grant, 2006; Johnsrud, Heck & Rosser, 2000; Rosser & Javinar, 2003). Factors addressed include demographic variables such as age, gender, ethnicity, functional area, and institutional type. Unfortunately, many of these studies have found conflicting or inconsistent results and none addressed career turnover specifically. An early comprehensive study of job satisfaction variabl es for all levels of student affairs administration, from new professional to chief student affairs officer, found an age difference for job satisfaction with respondents 37 years old and older reporting higher satisfaction scores than the 23 36 year age g roup, which is most likely made up of new and mid level professionals (Bender, 1980). However, this study found no significant difference in job satisfaction scores by gender. A recent dissertation study that compared entry level professionals to mid lev el practitioners also found higher mean job satisfaction rates for mid level staff, though differences were not significant (Davidson, 2009). This study found men at both levels reporting higher job satisfaction
43 than women on all facets surveyed, though t he only significant difference was for opportunities for promotion. While these studies found little difference between men and women in student affairs job satisfaction, others have found significant differences. In a dissertation study of chief studen t affairs officers, Anderson found that women at the senior level were more satisfied than new professionals or mid level administrators (1998), indicating that time in the field may factor into job satisfaction. Anderson indicated that inter role conflic (e.g., a deadline at work) are incompatible with the demands from the other role (e.g., a roles of administrator and parent, whic h appears to be significantly stronger for women administrators than for men in the same roles (p. 153). Women administrators who had been in student affairs for more than 20 years were also found to be more satisfied than those with fewer years in a stud y by Blackhurst, Brandt and Kalinowski (1998). In an earlier study on work related stress among student affairs administrators, Berwick (1992) found that job satisfaction was negatively correlated with the stress subscales of emotional exhaustion, deperson alization, and personal achievement. Variables that correlated with lower stress were greater number of years in the profession, working at a smaller institution, and being male. Berwick indicated that the average number of work hours per week did not va ry between men and women studied, but women were twice as likely to report primary responsibility for home centered tasks (62% vs. 23% for males). In conclusion, there is an incomplete picture on the work experiences of student affairs professionals. Wh ile job satisfaction seems to be a salient factor, there is not
44 enough evidence that it is directly related to job or career turnover in student affairs. Thus my study will explore the issues of job satisfaction, role conflict and career self efficacy in women former student affairs professionals. Job Turnover in Student Affairs Recent studies have examined potential intent to turnover in new professionals in student affairs, ( i.e. within their first job after graduate school ) usually with no more than t hree years of professional experience. Tull (2003) looked at individual characteristics and concepts such as role stress and role ambiguity and found that lack of a support system or perceived support system may cause some individuals in student affairs t o question their decision to stay in the organization. In a later study, Tull examined the socialization of new professionals and found that quality of supervision could determine inadequate supervision have difficulty in the orientation and socialization process in their work In another study comparing the vocational needs of graduate students in s tudent affairs preparation programs to those of new professionals in residence life, Hancock t theory of work adjustment (1969) to look at the congruence of person enviro nment fit. Hancock found discrepancies in the degree to which advancement and achievement needs are reinforced in entry level residence life positions. He determined that many residence life graduate assistants might be entering jobs that have a high pro bability of not being satisfying to them. In another study Johnsrud and Rosser (1997) utilized the conceptual framework posited by Rosin and Korabik (1995) on intent to leave and applied it to the academic
45 setting. Their framework posited that manager affective responses contribute to their propensity to leave organizations (Johnsrud & Rosser, 1997). Comparing mid level administrators in academic, business, external, and student affairs from a ten campus university sy stem, Johnsrud and Rosser found that mid level administrators intending to leave were more likely to work in student affairs, work at a research institution, feel stuck, and have lower morale than those intending to stay. The researchers concluded that ad ministrators intending to leave could be distinguished from those intending to stay by their perceptions regarding the opportunity for advancement, working conditions, recognition for competence, and age. My study seeks to explore why female former student affairs professionals decided to leave their student affairs careers. It will explore their decision using three salient factors: self efficacy, job satisfaction, and role conflict. The conceptual framework for this study will be addressed next along with the rationale for using these three constructs Conceptual Framework for My Study As demonstrated previously, there are a multitude of considerations within a arity, the opportunity for promotion and advancement, and relationships with supervisors and work responsibilities as member of a family and a community vie for time and attention. Thus t he choices one makes to enter and then remain in a career are affected by multiple do a job well or to balance multiple roles effectively can make the decision to leave a job
46 for something else incredibly complex and the choice to leave the career one has chose n and prepared for even more so The relative dearth of empirical literature on the multiple considerations for new co nceptual model. T he proposed model for this study is a converging radial diagram with multiple elements that influenc e considerations are concerns about self efficacy, role conflict or family and work/life balance, as well as satisfaction within the job or chosen career. Feminism also plays a so it is included in the model as well So the decision to leave a caree r is potentially more complex than the decision to leave a particular job. Figure 2 1. Decision to Leave Career by Women in Student Affairs Feminism (Tong, 2009) Self efficacy (Bandura, 1977) Job Satisfaction (Betz & Fitzgerald, 1987) Role Conflict (Fassinger, 2002)
47 This image represents the central framework of career development for female student af fairs professionals which is still being developed in the research literature. Since women are more likely to be primary caregivers for children and dependent parents, their career paths are less linear than those of most men. This has led to lower promotion levels and salaries for women in the workplace (Bierema, 1998). Whereas family may be considered to be a strength or source of support for male workers, it is still considered detrimental to the long term careers of women (Bierema, 1998). Famil y concerns likely will always be included in the career development plans of most women, so these considerations will not abate until workplace policies allow for better support of family and work/life balance issues for all employees. When workplace poli cies are not conducive to caring for both work and home, potentially causing role conflict, home responsibilities and duties usually prevail (Fassinger, 2005). area not well cover ed in the student affairs research literature. This study will address this gap by addressing why women have chosen to leave careers in higher education that may influence their choice to leave student affairs and that guide the development of the questions used in the interview protocol: self efficacy, job satisfaction, and role conflict. It also includes the theoretical framework of feminism, through which all aspects of this study were viewed. Self E fficacy efficacy affects not only their academic and occupational choices, but also their performance and persistence within those chosen roles (Betz & Hackett, 1997). In fact, som e women may overly attribute
48 their success to factors other than their own ability (Betz & Fitzgerald, 1987). Thus women may feel they are unable to do their jobs well when they have family obligations competing for their time. As mentioned previously, w ork obligations usually compare less favorably to family obligations for most women. When considering career options, women with lower self efficacy may be less likely to consider non traditional careers (Leong & Barak, 2001), so low self efficacy also li mits potential career choices. My study will explore career self career in student affairs by inquiring whether the participants remember a time when they felt unable or unprepared to do their job well Job S atisfaction Job satisfaction for women may be related to many things including self efficacy and/or organizational variables (Betz & Fitzgerald, 1987). Most job satisfaction studies examine particular professions such as medicine or teachi ng (Larrabee, Janney, Ostrow, Withrow, Hobbs, & Burant, 2003; Rinke, 2008) or as a general concept in organizational behavior (Judge, Parker, Colbert, Heller & Illies, 2001; Locke, 1969). Many compare job satisfaction to factors like personality (Judge, H eller & Mount, 2002). However, the concept has not been distinguished from career or occupational satisfaction and it has yet to be linked to career turnover (Blau, 2007). For women in student affairs, job satisfaction ratings have consistently been found to be lower than ratings from men when a gender difference has been found (Anderson, 1998; Berwick, 1992; Davidson, 2009). Inter role conflict between work and parenting demands was also found to be stronger for women in student affairs than for men (And erson, 1998). This conflict may affect stress levels and job satisfaction (Berwick, 1992). My study will address job satisfaction by asking participants to discuss
49 times when they had high levels of job satisfaction and times when they had low levels of job satisfaction. Inter role conflict is related to the concept of work/life balance along with job satisfaction, so that will be addressed next. Role Conflict multiple roles they play, and the expectations they and others have for them within those multiple roles. Studies on job satisfaction in student affairs found that home related stres sors were reported more frequently by women than by men, who primarily reported only work related stressors in relation to job satisfaction (Anderson, Guido DiBrito & Morrell, 2000). In this regard women in student affairs are similar to women in other ca reer fields in having primary caregiving responsibilities in addition to work responsibilities ( Anderson, Guido DiBrito & Morrell, 2000 ; Bierema, 1998). So multiple roles ( e.g. wife, mother, daughter) that compete for attention with full or even part tim e experienced by men (Schreiber, 1998 ). As addressed previously, work/life balance is an important part of job and occupational satisfaction. Workers who feel they have little fl exibility for taking time off for family related concerns may be less satisfied with their jobs than those who have more flexibility or fewer family concerns. With American employers becoming less likely to employ people for their entire careers (i.e. non linear career paths), the importance of workplace policies that allow for more balance between work and home becomes evident (Bie rema, 1998; Fassinger, 2005). Researchers suggest that w orkplace policies must be developed that value parenting and nurturin g the family as equally important work, so that women and men can come to the workplace fully supported to
50 do their best work both at work and at home (Leong & Barak, 2001). My study will explore whether role conflicts were involved in ns for leaving their student affairs careers. This qualitative study on career turnover of women in student affairs can add to existing knowledge by examining the stories of women who chose to enter and then leave their careers in student affairs. By ex amining their experiences when choosing to leave their careers, the study will explore considerations that led to that decision. Key constructs guiding my study include self efficacy, job satisfaction, and role conflict Chapter Summary The growth of stud ent affairs as a profession has mirrored the growth of women in the American labor pool. This is a profession of women in greater proportion than men except for the highest level of administration (McEwen, Engstrom & Williams, 1990). Some research on stu dent affairs administrators indicates that women have higher levels of stress and lower job satisfaction than men ( Anderson, Gui do DiBrito, & Morell, 2000 ). Some question whether everyone attracted to the field will find a good fit (Hancock, 1988 ). Others speculate that women may have difficulty returning after having children ( Nobbe & Manning, 1997). Yet many of the reasons why women have chosen to leave the profession are not known. There is little empirical evidence why anyone chooses to leave a ny profession, as most turnover research has been on job turnover rather than career turnover ( Doering & Rhodes, 1996 ). Although career paths are becoming increasingly complex and less likely to be linear, reasons for occupational change are still not res earched effectively ( Mowday, Koberg & McArthur, 1984 ). Add to this the multiple care giver roles many women have in addition to professional work,
51 ( Fassinger, 2005 ). Thi s qualitative dissertation study will focus on women who worked at four year, not for profit institutions and who left their student affairs careers early, prior to mid progr am). Narrative analysis will be used to analyze stories of their experiences. Details of the sampling procedure, data collection method, and data analysis will be addressed in C hapter 3
52 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY This qualitative dissertation study seek s to explore why women former s tudent a ffairs professional s chose to leave their initially chosen careers in higher education after working in student affairs. The following chapter will describe the methodology used for this study. The first section will illustrate the epistemological and theoretical frameworks used to guide the study, followed by an explanation of the data collection and analysis procedures. A discussion of the methodology limitations and my subjectivity statement follow, concluding with a chapter summary. Self new narrative for women, or even multiple narratives, as everyone has more than one story to tell ( Gergen, 2004). As Gergen explains, everyone plays more than one role in life (parent, child, sibling, spouse, employee, etc.) so we have multiple mini stories to tell. The mono Campbell, 1956) which assumes ll stories in Western culture, is as limiting to men as it is to women and, indeed, anyone who finds their story different from that one (Gergen, p. 271). Thus we need to find the missing stories of women, as well as men and the mini myths or stories of our multiple roles in life. This study will advance the research literature about women student affairs student affairs professionals as they discuss their decision to leave the fiel d Few studies of turnover in student affairs staff have interviewed those who have departed from the occupation, much less from more than one institution, so this study will help to fill a gap in the literature. Additionally, few career turnover studies in gene ral have utilized qualitative
53 methods, so this study will also add depth of understanding to the research literature. I understand their experiences from their own pers pectives. The few qualitative studies that have been published on turnover or career issues of student affairs staff cover a range of methods from written summaries to the question bout student affairs work (Hirt, 2006) to a phenomenological study of the experiences of student affairs staff who have departed jobs at small colleges and universities (Kortegast & Hamrick, 2009). Taken together, these add small, insightful glimpses into the issue but there are still many more perspectives to be explored and understood. More research is needed to focus on issues that may cause professionals to change their minds and leave their chosen student affairs careers The purpose of this study is to examine the e xperiences of former student affairs professionals when deciding to leave their chosen career s in order to get a better Why do women former student affairs professionals choo se to leave their initial ly chosen career field? asking former student affairs professionals who have left the field what led to that decision will we better understand career turnover for women student affairs professionals. In order to understand why women have chosen to enter a profession and then leave it, one must ask discerning questions to explore their career decisions. Issues such as self efficacy and role socialization are not easily addressed with straight forward survey quest ions. Moreover, participants may not know all the reasons why
54 they chose to enter a career and then leave it. Therefore, care must be taken to ascertain rich, contextual information in studies that explore the variety of issues that ision to leave their career. In order to gather this contextual data, a qualitative data collection method is required. Thus this study will explore former careers in hi gher education student affairs. The epistemological and theoretical frameworks used to guide the study will be reviewed next. Epistemological and Theoretical Issues Qualitative researchers are interested in how people make sense of their experiences (Merriam, 2009). Thus they tend to focus on meaning and understanding as related by the individuals or groups within a particular experience. A key component is understa The data collection and analysis process es that I will follow utilize a feminist epistemology in order to explore the experiences of the women in this study. Feminism has historically been thought of as having occurred in three waves, each having a different timeframe and focus. The first wave was during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and encompassed the struggle for equal standing under the law, i.e. have access to birth control ( Lorber, 2010). The first wave was generally authored by middle class whi te women (Nicholson & Pasque, 2011) and eventually focused into working on the right for women to vote, i.e. the suffrage movement (Tong, 2009) Second wave feminism began with the publication in France of Simone de The Second Sex (1949 in Franc e, 1952 in U.S.), which postulated that in the
55 movements of the 1960s saw young people criticizing Western politics and fighting for to be a class and racial struggle as well (Nicholson & Pasque, 2011). Feminists sought expansion of legal rights and political representation, as well as increased visibility in previously male dominated occupations and media (Lorber, 2010). This wave of feminist action focused on economic opportunities and sexual freedom for women, as well as civil liberties, as part of the Civil Rights movement (Tong, 2009). Third wave feminism began in the 1990s and is informed by postcolonial and 2011, p. 5) and include multiple definitions of gend er, race and class. This feminism includes multiracial/ multiethnic perspectives and queer theory and seeks to expose limited thinking such as non equal sexuality and the dualities of male and female, homosexual and heterosexual, masculinity and femininit y, etc. (Lorber, 2010). There is Reese, 2010 p. 50). This wave of feminism seeks to understand ways in which gender oppressi on and other kinds of human create and co be treated equally because they are essentially the same or equitably because th ey are are universal to all iterations of feminism This study will incorporate aspects of both
56 cholson & Pasque, 2011), and postmodern feminism, most closely aligned with third wave feminist ideals sex with gender, deeming appropriate for women only those jobs associated wit h the traditional feminine personality (Tong, 2009, p. 34). Since I am concerned with occupational issues for women in a patriarchal society, I will use liberal feminism as a backdrop for understanding the issues explored in participant narratives. My approach in this study will also include perspectives of postmodern feminism, which maintains that gender i s constructed through language (Butler, 1990) in that one Postmodern feminism assumes multiples truths and multiple identities and lived experiences as well as multiple definitions of gender roles (Nicholson & Pasque, 2011). inco rporate postmodern feminism to explore their language and word choices. I will engage with the participants to reconstruct their experiences and let their them (Hatch, 2002, p 15). I will utilize narrative anal stories to relate their experiences (Riessman, 2008, p. 10). T he narrative researcher strives to describe a particular experience i n such a rich, contextual way that readers who have not shared in that experience can understand it (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000 ) I wish to understand and to share the experiences of women who chose to leave their careers within student affairs,
57 and I believe that their own stories are the best way to fully understand this personal decision. Data Collection Process D ata collection involved in depth interviews with the participants so that they may have time to recollect and report stories of their experience s. Interviews allow collection of information that is not observable because it has happened in the past or reflects apply to this study. Since career change decisio ns involve personal and potentially difficult issues, interviews were conducted in person rather than via phone or internet Access and Rapport In order to access potential participants, I used higher education/student affairs graduate preparation program and vice president of student affairs (VPSA) officer lists from student affairs professional associations (ACPA, NASPA, SACSA) for southeastern four year, not for profit institutions. V ice presidents and graduate faculty acted as key informants by forward ing my study information (research purpose, IRB protocol and interview questions, and consent form) to potential participants who then contacted me if interested in being interviewed. Although some potential informants may have chosen not to forward the s tudy information, I contacted more than I thought would be necessary and conducted multiple waves of email introductions of my study to a variety of potential key informants. See Appendix E for the key informant email. I sent over 60 emails to potential key informants over three waves of email s I received 12 responses and interviewed nine individuals. The three respondents not interviewed fell outside the study parameters either in number of years working in student affairs or in currently working in a nother area in higher education. In total respondents indicated
58 that they received the study information from seven key informants. Since this study required a small number of participants for in depth interviews, respondents were considered on a first come, first served basis and restricted only by the study parameters My experience as a student affairs professional, my gender, and my expressed interest in their lives and experiences probably helped to open rapport with the participants. Also, all seven key informants were familiar with me and recommended my study directly to participants. All seven key informants were people I have worked with or know through professional associations. Once a participant expressed interest in being interviewed, I began building rapport by calling them to arrange the interview at a time and place where they felt comfortable. See Appendix F for my email response to potential participants. The pre interview briefing was also used to increase rapport so that the par ticipants felt comfortable sharing their experiences with me. Of the nine respondents, three were familiar to me from professional associations. However, I had not worked with any of them professionally and was unfamiliar with their work experiences prio r to the interviews Sampling Strategy I chose to limit the sample for this study to women in order to explore potential gender related issues within their stories. I expect that some experiences that lead to men choosing to leave the profession might b that is beyond the scope of this study. As described above, I used criterion based sampling a form of purposeful sampling, (Merriam, 2009) to find particip ants that matched criteria for this study. In this case, study criteria required participants who had received a mas
59 affairs /higher education administration and had worked in student affairs before choosing to leave the profession e ntirely within six years of graduation. Recent narrative analysis dissertation studies have used between six and 17 participants, with the majority having seven to nine. Therefore I interviewed nine participants, with an approximately 60 minute to 90 minute interview for each. Criteria for selecting participants included gender, type of institution where employed in student affairs at time of leaving career, time in the career field, and where they are currently located (i.e. distance for me to travel to the interview). While two participants ended up having community college experience, they also had worked at four year institutions and thus were not excluded from the study. Also, one participant left the profession and returned to it prior to leavi ng again, so her work experience extended over a period of twelve years, which she mentions in a few of her stories. However, the total amount of time she spent working in student affairs was approximately six years. This study was limited to women former student affairs professionals who worked at four year, public or private not for profit institutions of higher education and who left their student affairs careers within six years. I limited key informant contacts to the southeastern U.S. under the assu mption that most potential participants currently living in this region also worked or studied in the region. While that presumably excluded potential participants, it also created boundaries for my list of key informants. I limited participation to inte rviewees in the southeastern United States so that I could travel to meet with them quickly and economically Interview Protocol Development I pilot tested my study and developed the interview protocol with three participants, two of whom were friends and former co workers and one of whom was
60 male. At the time the plan was to analyze the data using grounded theory, but the pilot experience helped me to realize that stories and longer passages in response to questions were the most interesting to me. Thus the desire to keep those stories intact for interpreting and writing the results led me to narrative analysis. The questions are mostly the same as for the pilot study except for rewriting them to elicit narratives rather than straight forward responses. the pilot study IRB and protoc ol respectively That study, plus reading literature on the career development paths of women, led me to search for stories of women who have had the career experience of working in student affairs and then chose to leave it. Interview questions for this career development, namely self efficacy, role conflict or work/life balance, and job decided to enter and later decided to leave the field of student affairs. Questions were their careers and relate examples of what made them love their jobs and what did not. See Appendices C and D for the IRB and interview protocol for this study Data Collection Procedures People frequently make sense of their experiences through narratives or stories (Merriam, 2009). However, many times their experiences are taken for granted or they have not made sense of them. Thoughtful interviews are a way to entice people into making meaning of their experiences and uncovering hidden meaning structures
61 (Spradley, 1979, as cited in Hatch, 2002). Data was collected through semi structured in depth interviews conducted in person with the participants. When attempting to create stories for narrative analysis, Kvale recommends follow up questions for clarification of characters and questions about their narratives (Kvale, 1996, p. 130). Thus intervie w questions were open ended in order to generate me about the study, I emailed them to discuss the study and arrange an interview at the time and place of their pref erence. Interviews took place between May 20 and June 27, preferred. I traveled to the participant on the date arranged in order to interview them in person. In order to begin building rapport with each participant, I opened with the following script: I am interested in learning about the experience of beginning a career in student affairs and then leaving the field. You are the expert here and I want to learn about y our story. I may ask a few questions for clarification but otherwise I leave it to you to determine what to tell me. There are no right or wrong answers and anything that you feel is important is worth discussing. I will take notes during the interview to remind myself about things I want to follow up on but that may not mean that something was more or less important than something else. It is just a reminder. You have the right not to answer any question or to withdraw from the study at any time. Pri or to starting the interview, I went over the Informed Consent form and had each participant sign and date it. See Appendix G for the Informed Consent Form. Interviews were audio taped and then transcribed verbatim. Notes were taken during the interviews regarding
62 possible probes or prompts for later questioning. The interviews were followed by an im mediate debriefing in order to thank the participant and answer any questions she might have about the research or the research process. After each debriefing, I made notes about my reflections as to any initial thoughts about the interview questions or p a response were also noted for later analysis Demographic Information education administra tion or student affairs They represent six graduate programs from four states, with no more than two participants from any particular program. Two participants attended one program simultaneously. Most of the women (seven) are Caucasian with one Africa n American and one Hispanic. Most are married (six) with children; two are divorced, one with children and one without, and one is single, no children. Participants range in age from mid 30s to mid 50s. Their work experience ranges from community colleg es (Assoc in Carnegie Classification, Table 3.1 below) to regional public universities and from small liberal arts colleges (Bac) to research intensive state universities (RU) In all they have worked in ten different states, mostly within the southeastern United States. Six of the participants worked primarily in student activities or student services, including leadership development and judicial affairs; one worked primarily in housing and residence life, and one primarily in student orient ation. The relevance of these work areas will be discussed in C hapter 5. As mentioned previously, one participant was unable to gain full time employment in student affairs upon graduation (Gloria, n/a in Institution of first / last job,
63 Table 3.1) Some w omen worked at up to three institutions, while others worked at only one. Of the four participants who worked at only one institution of higher education after graduate school, three worked in multiple positions i n that institution. ( Table 3 .1 ) Table 3 1. Sample Demographics No. Pseudonym Institution of first job Institution of last job Married No. of Children Type of job (primarily) 1 Alice Bac RU Y 4 Student Activities 2 Barbara RU Y 2 Orientation/Leadership 3 Carrie RU RU N 0 Housing/St. Services 4 Donna RU RU Y 2 Student Activities 5 Elaine RU Assoc Y 1 Student Activities 6 Faye Bac Bac Y 1 Student Activities 7 Glori a n/a n/a Y 2 n/a 8 Hattie Assoc Assoc N 0 Student Services 9 Ingrid RU RU N 2 Student Services Note: Institution types are listed using Carnegie Classifications where Assoc is Associate institutions or c ommunity c ollege, Bac is u ndergraduate granting four year colleges undergraduate and and R U is Research intensive or doctorate granting university Data Analysis There are multiple ways to analyze narrative transcripts, and the narratives can be entirely one story or made up of multiple stories (Riessman 1993). Some forms of narrative analysis, such as linguistic or discourse analysis, focus on the words specifically as well as narrator pauses and verbal cues. Each form, however, examines ral context (Merriam, 2009). For this study I focused on both narrative content and structure. This will allow me to down to a few words and phrases looking for the mes, as in grounded theory or many making structures, narratives must be preserved, not fractured, by investigators, who ing and analyze how it is
64 I transcribed participant interviews verbatim and read and re read them to ide ntify narrative structures. Lab ov and Waletzky identified six elements that comprise what they determined to be a well developed narrative (Labov & Waletzky, 1967; Labov, 1972), as identified in Grbich, 2007. These elements are as follows: Abstract (an initial clause that summarizes the narrative), Orientation (time, place and events of narrative), Complicating Ac tion (main body of narrative, usually the next sequential event), Evaluation Result or Resolution (final outcome of narrative), and Coda (ending of story to tie narrator and audience back to t he present) (Grbich, 2007, p. 127). Since many stories typically do not contain Abstracts or Codas, I determined that complete narratives for my purpose s would include at least four essential elements: O rientation, C omplicating A ction, R esult and E valuation. I identified these narrative structures in each transcript to codify narratives for each participant. Then I created a table for each participant labeling each narrative using in vivo codes, or wording from that particular story (Corbin & Stra uss, 2008). I also indicated why that part icular narrative was important. See Appendix H for a P articipant N arrative T able. After identifying all narratives and creating a table for each woman I identified which narratives were more important based o n their relevance in answering my research question and the complexity of the narratives. I coded each narrative Red, Yellow, or Green to identify non important, somewhat important, and very important narratives, respectively. Examples of each will be gi ven in C hapter 4 I identified 92 narratives: 29 Green, 40 Yellow 23 Red. I then created a n ew table to enable comparison across participants. See Appendix I for the S tory Analysis T able.
65 For each narrative I tried to identify the phrase that was the f ocal point of the story to be the in vivo code or story title. Then for each participant I picked one story that either represented their basic narrative structure or their most atypical structure, as representative of one of their more complex stories. My assumption in the latter case is that more complex stories tend ed to relate more important or interesting concepts on the part of the narrator, the study participant. In both cases, whether basic narrative structure or complex, I also chose a story th at was greatly related to important aspects of my research question. That story then became the title story for that participant. Since each participant had a similar experience (i.e. choosing to leave their career in student affairs), thematic analysis o f their stories could highlight similarities in the way they each make meaning of this experience. Creswell calls this thematic commonalities across participants were also addressed, separate from their title stories, and will be explored C hapter 4 Narratives are joint constructions between the story teller and the listener, within a particular context of place and time (Gergen, 2004). If any of the actors or tim e or place is changed, the story shifts as well. Narratives collected for research are a joint construction between the research participant and the researcher, and they are shifted All of the narratives reported in this study are from responses to questions I were to re interview each woman, they might reflect differently today about the ir
66 experiences than they did on the day we spoke. I might re interpret their stories in a different manner a year from now. However, given the readings I have combed through in th e literature and my own personal work experiences, I have interpreted these stories in as broad a way as I can at the current time. I have attempted to reflect these int erpret similarly for themselves. I have also attempted to compare the ir work experiences so that some larger perspectives may be addressed. Chapter 4 will detail those interpretations and reflections. As analysis took place I kept my reflections in a jou rnal so that ideas or questions I had could be used for later analysis. Merriam (2009) suggests beginning analysis as soon as you have the first transcript, so that memoing or journaling your thoughts and initial insights may be used to focus ongoing coll ection and analysis efforts. This way your data becomes more manageable. Kvale (1996) also suggests keeping a reflective journal as you transcribe and analyze interviews so that your thoughts and questions are not forgotten. I used my notes to remind me of insights and thoughts after each interview, as well as while reading transcripts, and as a way to remind me to check my assumptions as I analyzed. I also took care to distinguish between my interpretations atives Methodological Rigor of Study p. 15). Riessman argues that meaning that arises out of a conversation between two or more people as a process of interaction stands t he risk of being misinterpreted by one or more of those people. Meanings are fluid and contextual and at every point in the research process, from study development to data collection, from transcription to
67 analysis, and from reporting to finally being re ad, there is possibility for ambiguity (Riessman, 1993). Thus narrative analysis, like any form of communication or meaning co construction, is subject to misinterpretation at any step. What researchers can do to limit misinterpretation is to account for as many interpretations as possible and be aware of the limitations of the theoretical perspective and data collection and analysis the following sections. Another consideration is the ethics of how data are collected, analyzed and reported. Safeguards must be in place to ensure the confidentiality and anonymity of participants and their responses. Especially with a small, localized sample, findings must be reporte d in such a way that those familiar with the participants cannot recognize them in the reported results. Therefore, participants in this study were asked to choose a pseudonym for use in reporting, and identifying information such as names of people, plac es and institutions was removed. Only one participant indicated a pseudonym preference and that was for a name that another participant shared. Therefore I created all of the pseudon y ms. All participants signed a consent form indicating that their partic ipation was completely voluntary, and they had the right not to answer any question and/or to withdraw at any ti me during the research process. In addition, participants who agreed to be interviewed were mailed the study information prior to their intervi ew, including the research purpose and interview questions, the interview format and time involved, and potential uses for the study. All participants were informed that the interview would be audio recorded, and they gave advance written and verbal conse nt.
68 Methodological Limitations As mentioned earlier, narratives are constructions that the participant makes as part of the interview process. Memories may be influenced by the interview situation and the relationship between participant and researcher, a s well as by time and potentially changing perceptions of the participants about their experience, due to Additional lim itations to using narrative analysis relate to the large amount of data generated by relatively few participants. Great subtlety is required to attend to nuances of speech, organization of responses, local contexts of the story, and to what is not spoken (Riessman, 1993). Narrative analysis is not appropriate for studies with large sample sizes. Additionally, one might not end up with narratives during the interviews. If questions are not worded well or subtle cues that express untold implications are o verlooked, responses may not contain sufficiently detailed stories of participant experiences. My study contains limitations relating to theoretical and methodological considerations. It has a small sample size and limited scope. Though qualitative studi es are typically not intended to be used for generalizable purposes, small sample sizes naturally limit potential findings to the group being studied. While no claim has been made about being able to generalize my findings to others, the limitations of my sample preclude making assumptions about non participants. The stories told in this research study relate only to the participants and my interpretation of them. They cannot be extrapolated to the experiences of other women who have chosen to leave care ers in student affairs. However, since this study is exploratory in nature, hopefully
69 findings will entice others to examine similar stories and more experiences. Similarly, the limitation of participants from only four year, not for profit institutions in the southeastern U.S., who left within their first six years, means that the stories of men, community or two year college administrators, mid or senior level administrators, etc. have not been told. Suggestions for future research will be explored mo re in C hapter 6 Finally, researcher bias is always a study limitation. I am a white, middle class woman who has worked in student affairs at multiple types of institutions. Certainly that has the potential to impact any results I may have found. Since I know a few of t he participants, potential bias may be even greater as I may assume that I understand their responses and fail to seek clarification. Thus my sampling, interviewing and analysis strategies must be utilized with the utmost care for reducing my assumptions and my own stories in exchange for truly hearing, understanding and retelling the stories of my participants. Member checking to take participant stories back for verification of my initial analysis was an important step in reducing potential bias. I als o chose only participants with whom I have not worked during my student affairs career. I have chosen the topic and interview questions. I chose the theoretical what seem ed to be important during the interviews, in terms of follow up questions, and also when reading and analyzing transcripts from the interviews. The only solution for potential researcher bias is the care I take to account for it and thus prove the trustwo rthiness of my interpretation. Trustworthiness Trustworthiness and authenticity are of the utmost concern for qualitative researchers, as they relate to the honesty and credibility of the research process
70 (Lincoln & Guba, 2000). While there are conflict ing perceptions in the qualitative field as to the value and even possibility of determining validity (Angen, 2000; Koro Ljungberg, 2008; Wolcott, 1990), validation is considered important for maintaining trustworthiness. For most qualitative researchers, (1985) are considered standard: credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. Credibility Credibility is considered to be internal validity, or how research findings are the data presented (Merriam, 2009, p. 213). Triangulation, member checking and researcher reflexivity are ways to ensure or approach credibility. Triangulation is the use of multiple data collection measures, multiple investigators, and/or multiple data multiple divergent accounts of a phenomenon (Angen, 2000). Though it is as likely to result in inconsistent or contradictory evidence as in convergent findings (Angen, 2000), triangulation is seen as a useful method of supporting credibility. I utilized triangulation by interviewing participants with different perspectives on their experience (i.e. working at different institutions when deciding to leave their student affairs career). I employed member checking by soliciting feedback from participants to ensure that they agreed with my initial interpretation of their stories. Although this credibility measure also has detractors, since participants may change perspectives after and possibly due to the interview exp erience (Angen, 2000), member checking is seen as an important form of credibility (Merriam, 2009). In order to utilize reflexivity, I will be as transparent as possible in describing both my analysis process and my insights and assumptions
71 during data co llection and analysis, by way of a reflective journal, so that the reader may determine how I reached my conclusions Transferability allow for other researchers to make connections to my study, I present as much original the experiences (Merriam, p. 227). Using long passages of participant stories, as is the purpose and goal of narrative analysis, as well as relevant notes from my reflecti ons will allow readers to assess the credibility of my findings and applicability of contextual pieces to their own experiences, research or practical applications. Maximum variation in sampling also allows for transferability and was accomplished by interviewing participants from different institutions Dependability and confirmability D ependability focuses on the research process and whether data collection and (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 301). It can be enhanced through the use of overlapping methods and dependability audits (the use of well informed subjects) (Denzin, 2004, p. 469). Confirmability is the effort of the researcher to ground findings in the data and involves using field notes and memos of the interview and analysis process (Denzin, p. 469). For these measures I developed an audit trail using the reflective journal and a research log that include d all data collected, methodological memos including analytical codes and data reduction process es and my reflections on the research process inclu d ing thoughts, questions or concerns that occurred during the process.
72 historical truth (Riessman, 1993, p. 22). In other words, if the reader is persuaded by (Riessman, 2008, p. 191), then trustworthiness is supported Subjectivity Statement As a former s criteria except for two: while I left my job to change careers, I did not leave higher education and I did not leave within six years. Becoming a faculty member, which is my goal, can be considered an upward career move within higher education similar to moving into middle or senior level administrative positions within student affairs. However, there were several times during my career where I contemplated leaving higher education altogether, which prompted my interest in this study. As a single woman in a student affairs career I could be unhappy about the long hours or low pay or whatever else made me think of leaving at that particular moment, but my choices were my own. I di d not have a spouse or children to figure into the equation. While I expected that family and other non work obligations would be included among the reasons given for leaving the profession, I did not want to assume that my experiences were the same as ot her former student affairs professionals. That is why I wanted to learn their stories. I have had wonderful supervisors in student affairs and some that I did not get along with well. The same can be said of some coworkers and former students whom I worked with or advised. Some will forever be my friends, and some are all but forgotten. However, I could never think of a career that I wanted more. That is the
73 reason I stayed through all the times that I contempla ted leaving. Until I considered made me sad. I loved being a college student and I have loved working in the collegiate settings where I have been employed. Life on a college campus is like no place else, and that aura of learning and possibility excites me even today. In college you are surrounded by limitless possibilities: students, faculty and staff, libraries, classrooms and laboratories, performing arts, athle tics, extra curricular activities, and more. I wonder, though, if others have had similar experiences. Surely the lure of working in a collegiate setting appeals to many people. At some point, however, a student affairs career may no longer hold its app eal or other career options may seem more appealing. Therein lies the decision to change jobs or even careers. Therein lies this study. perspective is not the same as these part icipants who chose to leave prior to or approaching mid career. So I had to take care to truly listen to their stories and not make assumptions based on my own. As one can tell from above, I am biased towards many aspects of working in higher education a nd student affairs. As one who has been there, I am also biased against some aspects of working in higher education and student affairs. As a researcher I will need to bracket or try to put boundaries around there. I also need to assume that I do NOT know what they are telling me and to seek clarification at all times. Their experiences are not mine and I want to learn about them.
74 It is up to you, the reader, to de termine for yourself if you think I have done this effectively, through my reflections and interpretations. Chapter Summary This chapter has provided an overview of the methodology that was employed in this dissertation study. My study utilized a feminist narrative analysis to explore the experiences of women who chose to leave their student affairs careers within their first six years. Though the purpose was not to provide results that can be generalized to all women former student affairs professionals, the stories these participants convey will
75 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS As indicated in C hapter 3 participants were self selected after receiving information about the study from a key informant. All respondents were interviewed unless they did not meet the study requirements (i.e. more than six years of student affairs experience or still working i n another area of higher education). In all, nine women were interviewed from 12 responses received as three fell outside the parameters of the study regarding length of employment in student affairs or no t currently working in another area of higher edu cation These nine respondents came from seven key informants who recommended the study to them, from a total of 63 requests emailed about the study. affairs or higher education administration and all worked a s graduate assistants in student affairs areas such as residence life, orientation, student activities, etc. during their graduate program. All but one worked as student affairs professionals for no longer than approximately six years prior to leaving the field, with the exception being a participant who was not able to find student affairs work after receiving her degree. She was married and geographically bound and was unable to find employment within the field after searching for over a year. Her stori es detail her experiences as a graduate assistant and her perceptions of with demographic information on the sample having been reported in C hapter 3 Stories of thei r experiences unfold in subsequent sections of this chapter. This chapter will utilize the following format. First stories are reviewed based on their structure and content. Then I will remark on the entirety of
76 my interpretations of them. After that I will make comparisons across participant stories, followed by singularly important narratives that imparted a particular ly interesting aspect of student affairs work. I conclude t he chapter with their final though ts on their student affairs career s Note that within the stories, [ ] signifies an alteration to the exact narrative and parentheses ( example ) are my interpretation or definition of a term they have used that might be unfamiliar to readers or are asides, such as laughter, that are included in that portion of text in the exact narrative. Non italicized words in parentheses (example) are generic identifications in exchan ge for personal or institutional names from the original narrative Underlined words indicate emphasis by the participant during the interview, such as louder or stronger intonation during the telling of the story. Description of Participants All nine par ticipants agreed to tell their stories without reservation, and some expressed gratitude at the opportunity to reflect on their careers in student affairs. All participant names are pseudonyms and identifying names of persons and institutions have been r their pseudonyms, which corresponds to the order in which they were interviewed (i.e. Alice is the first participant interviewed, etc.). Since these participants volunteered for invo lvement in this study and were discovered using purposeful sampling there is no attempt at randomness. However, a wide variety of work experiences and graduate programs was achieved, though incidentally. Some demographic information is compiled in Table 3 .1 while some is in Due to the small number of
77 participants and the level of detail in their personal narratives, potentially identifiable descriptions of the participants work experiences will not be given in order to protect their anonymity. Title Stories As a reminder, for each narrative I tried to identify the phrase that was the focal point of the story to be the in vivo code or story title. Then, for each participant I picked one story to be their title story, that either represented their basic narrative structure, as below or their most atypical structure as representative of one of their more comp lex stories. My assumption in the latter case is that more complex stories tend ed to be from incidents about which the narrator felt strongly or emotionally connected. In both cases, whether basic narrative structure or complex, I also chose a Green or Y ellow story thus most related to important aspects of my research question. Remember in C hapter 3 I identified each narrative as Green, Yellow or Red depending on the level of importance in answering the research question and also in the fullness of the narrative structure. For example, a Green story would be a complete narrative that fully answered the research question related to why a participant chose to was mor A yellow story would be one with mostly complete narrative structure and interesting but perhaps not vital information in response to the research question. An ference many of the stronger statements from Yellow
78 narratives in the commonalities section of C hapter 4 discussing what I felt were the most important points rather than the entire narratives. A Red story might be a less structured or complete narrativ e or less directly anything you thought I would ask but not directly related to her decis ion to leave her student affairs career. So for each participant, I chose one story to be their title story. I gave myself a few guidelines in determining the title stories. The first was when I thought a particular story best represented that participan succinctly than in previous stories or by others in the study. For example, Donna stated important for me to be home with guideline, I was looking for stories that to me were the most poignant or remarkable or important in relation to my research question about their choice to leave their student affairs career (s) A sec ond guideline was to choose stories that gave a good representation of the of that participant. For example, Elaine related in many of her narratives her perception that being able to use her skills and do good work was satisfying to her, whereas times
79 when she felt unnoticed or overlooked were unsatisfying. Thus her title story is about Finally, I tried to b interview question responses so that each title story did not refer to the same question. For example, most participants gave their strongest, most complex narratives in response to the question s about their most satisfying experiences in their student affairs careers or their least satisfying experiences. However, I felt that using only those two questions, while the focal point of the study, would have led to very repetitive reading. I thoug ht it was important to balance strong narratives with a breadth of responses to increase story variety For example, the most similar responses came in answer to the question about what led these women to choose student affairs as a career field. Instea d of repeating very similar stories, I chose to write about that under commonalities and report only the strongest, most indicative statements for that interview question. Thus I tried to nto either their personal section of the chapter or into the later sections on commonalities and issues. Between those two sections of C hapter 4 all Green and most of the Yellow stories have been reported. career experiences as told through their stories. I explore their narratives regarding both structure and content. As a reminder, f or this study I defined a complete narrati ve to be containing four elements: Orientation, Complicating Action, Result, and Evaluation. Participants are reviewed in alphabetical order of pseudonym.
80 S tory: R eal S uccess S tory T o M e. Alice worked in student activities at multiple in stitutions and is a married mother of four. She worked at a small liberal arts college (Bac in Carnegie Classification) and at more than one regional state university Her stories contain ed much detail ture, which was echoed by most participants, was Orientation, Complicating Action, Result, Evaluation. This basic structure was we re quite long and many segue d dire ctly into additional stories in her response to an interview question. Her basic structure is exemplified in the story below, which is immediately following and flowing from the Evaluation (included) of a previous, similar story, both answering the second interview (Alice) E valuation Y ou know it was amazing to see these emotionally fragile kids that are just so overwhel med at the prospect of being away from home kinda grow. I thrown into a position, either all the leadership leaves and we ask them to do it and they it O rientation popular girl on campus. Everyone knew (her); she was in a Greek group and she was very cute. She was dating the cute guy, the cute fraternity guy, and everybody loved her C omplicating A ction she had a friend in a band that she wanted the programming board to book. I But you gotta get o n the [programming] R esult ut that, for whatever reason, nobody else could go. And so we had already paid for a nd she
81 And she ended up our VP for promotions and Evaluation She really got involved and she ended up being our president the next year and it was just fantastic. She was fantastic at it and it was really good because it was an identity redefining moment for her in that she success story to me because I feel like she became more than she thought she I chose this as the title story for Alice because to me it indicates why many college students choose a career in student affairs. Undergraduate students get help other students do the same. Barbara, Carrie, Hattie and Gloria indicated similarly in the course of this study. It is also indicative of the most common narrative about purpose that one hopes to have as a professional in student affairs, as it fulfills the i addressed further in C hapter 5. Alice spoke of her favorite student affairs work experiences being when students are pushed to exceed their limits and then they surprise themselves with their capability. She indicate d board, when initially she just wanted to convince them to hire her friend in a band. She
82 went from being an interested member to presiden t in two years and now works for a major corporation in their marketing department. While this might have resulted anyway, Alice believe d spell ed success. This story was indicative of both a typical narrative structure for Alice and a typical response to this question for many participants. As mentioned earlier, it was a secondary narrative to the initial sto ry in response to the interview question. Alice told multiple stories in response to both her most satisfying and her least satisfying experiences during her student affairs career, as one story seemed to remind her of another, frequently better story. A nother example of this is her next narrative, below, where she asked if she could give to the interview question regarding her least satisfying experience in her career. tions tend to be rather lengthy, and frequently the Evaluations were peppered throughout the narratives. For example in her story below, Evaluation, Complicating Action, Orient ation, Result, Orientation, Evaluation, Result, Evaluation, Complicating Action, Result, Evaluation. This gave additional perspective to her stories as she explained the context ( O rientation) of the situation and how she felt about it ( E valuation). This story, below, is one of her longest and most complex and indicates her frustration in one of her least satisfying moments in her student affairs career the third interview question.
83 (Alice) O rientation ) there was a little identity issue. We used to be the ( character, ; And ( inst itution city) is like, eh ( shrugs ), you So we rename ourselves (new name) to try to encomp ass the entire (state area) to show that we are the campus Evaluation which is cool. I mean, I was down for that. Well, you know, it was a very nice thing. C omplicating A ction chair a O rientation And something that is very obviously male. And we want som ething that really has a R esult O rientation name (city), we looked at the (character city is named after). Evaluation But the problem with (character) is that it is very obviously male, R esult everyone wants this rolled out at orientation. And so we finally come up with 3 ideas. E valuation ; they wanted it to be something distinctive. Another thing the (characters the R esult all said and done and meet with the group and they look at me up with (male character the city is named after). worried about our relationship E valuation You gave us two things that would obviously tell us not to use (character) and the whole time you were just It was just really frustrating
84 Complic ating Action = s there a way to make it more androgynous? Result and blah blah blah. Which, the Evaluation why is laughing ) And still to this day, my supervisor at the time has to defend me ( laughs again ) because the co ho ho ho! ( laughing it was just the bureaucrac y in its beautiful glory As with many other stories that Alice related, this one made me laugh out loud. Her word choices made me laugh, such as not wanting to make the mascot character n funnier although I also think it is her indicated frustration and it was obvious in both her tone and her own laughter. Alice also emphasized particular words more than any other participant, which added to the why listening to her tell this story and thinking to myself, wow, what an utterly ridiculous situation and, more importantly, what a colossal waste of time! Committee work where the directives preclude an outcome destined to be rejected seems to me to be setting people up for failure. It is no wonder that she was frustrated. This will be discussed further below. As mentioned previous ly, Alice frequently added additional Orientations and Evaluations into her longer stories, making the context more apparent. For example, in the story above she lays out the initial situation of a least satisfying experience in her
85 opening Orientation, So at (institution) there was a little identity issue indicates the problem in the Complicating Action. me to co Following this, Alice adds explanatory elem ents through additional Orientations and Evaluations, respectively. the (character city is named after), (followed by the Evaluation) b ut the problem with (character She continues through multiple Results, Evaluations, Orientations, and Complicating Actions until she concludes with the final Result and her And so we have to g o back and try to think of a way to make a (character) more androgynous and within a why nd Evaluations add context to a story that would be much less interesting, or explanatory of her frustration level, with a simpler structure of Orientation, Complicating Action, Result, Evaluation. As her story winds its way to the eventual conclusion and her final evaluation, the reader becomes more included and invested in the narrative. Alice also used words to convey her frustration in this story, such as bureaucracy at the charge to the committee specifically kept them from picking the mascot the committee her additional Evaluations and Orientations, her specific word choice in dicated her feelings about the situation in the narrative. Just as she had used words such as
86 expresses her feelings with words laden with negative emotion. Her most and le ast satisfying experiences in her student affairs career are expressed in stories laced with emotional words that give context to the height or depth of feeling those experiences had for her. mes where she was able to work with students and see their growth, or when she was burdened by will be discussed further in Chapter 5, institutions of higher educati on, as with many corporate institutions, can be seen to have a male gendered perspective (Acker, 2006). Presidents, vice presidents and area managers, still are typically male in higher education organizations. Directors and lower level administration, e specially in student affairs, tend to be women (Nidiffer & Bashaw, 2001; McEwen, Engstrom & Williams, frequently rests with upper level management, who are typically men. Until institutional cultures allow for collaborative work that is agreed to and utilized by all participants (Acker, 2006), frustrating bureaucratic work experiences will likely continue within student affairs and higher education. es are about feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, and more of them will be detailed later in this chapter. Conversely, many stories are about her feeling proud or inspired. This story is indicative of a time when she felt most satisfied working in student affairs interview question two m (Alice) O rientation fledgling state; I think it had been done once or twice before I got there. It was a
87 high profile e hundreds of people wanted to get And then you know it was such a great cause. I mean, you And on top of that it was so wel C omplicating A ction E valuation I really, I love things again that are You could measure success on so many different fronts. You measured success by the number of families and the entertainers that you could get and the food, so it was just, I mean it was just satisfying and any time you can mix your job with something that really has a of doi R esult us. E valuation ind of money raised by students it was just amazing. On top of everything else there was a real kind of pride in you having done it to o I mean we stayed up for 32 hours. We were right alongside of making it happen. that second one and I was ; (DM advisor) and I ed emotion regarding the inspiration she felt or the frustration, depending on the situation. However, occasionally her stories were just explanatory, with little emotional content. In the story below, she talks about negotiating boundaries around behaving in a professional manner around students when not at work. This story is in response to interview question six about whether she ever experienced conflict between work and non work responsibilities. (Alice) A bstract = O rientation discuss it. So first thing, I lived in (neighboring city from story above,
88 ) but I worked in (city of institution) and again ( neighboring city) is E valuation = out a lot, you want to drink, you want to be out with your friends. to have to be on C omplicating A ction l the students from (city of institution) would want student that had had a couple of E valuation I wanted to be out and about and it was just, it was very frustrati embarrassing, I just would like to have a couple of beers and laugh and be silly with my friends. How do you, where do yo R esult Alice use d when she indicate d that conflicts between work and non work responsibilities occur red I think this shows the importance of her perception about conflicts in that Her use of an abstract adds additional emphasis to her point. Another example of Abstract use for Alice comes in the story below, in response to interview question seven regarding the (Alice) A bstract O rientation = I mean, you know E valuation
89 C omplicating A ction R esult E valuation s financially undervalued this profession can be. I Alice discusse d financially undervalued d parent. In a later story she expressed surprise that a career field dominated by women would be so inflexible rega rding work hours as well. She state d Perhaps Alice should not have been surprised since higher education in the United States began as a male career field and is still dominated by men in higher level s of administration (Nidiffer & Bashaw, 2001; Walker, Reason & Robinson, 2003). Thus job expectations of working inflexibly long hours may be especia lly difficult for anyone with a family, i.e. not a single, usually male individual (Acker, 2006). This issue relates to the liberal feminism perspective of occupational issues within a patriarchal organization, and thus will be addressed further in Chapte rs 5 and 6. Moreover, women dominated careers such as education and nursing have typically lower salary levels than male dominated careers for their educational level (Karlin, England & Richardson, 2002). As mentioned previously, more women work in
90 all bu t the highest administrative level of student affairs than do men (Hughes, 1994; Nidiffer & Bashaw, 2001; Walker, Reason & Robinson, 2003). Since more than one participant mentioned low pay as being a salient factor in their decision(s) to leave the field this issue will be addressed later in the chapter as well as in Chapters 5 and 6 student affairs career as in She also n arrates about times want to have to be on or stories speak to the highs and lows of student affairs work where you can see tangible evidence of your hard work and watch students develop, or you may never off from work yet you cannot pay your bills. Both of these extremes played out in ons of this chapter and again in C hapter 5. However, Alice specifically chose to leave her student affairs career. The next participant, Barbara, tells a different story. S tory: I N ever C onsciously M ade the C hoice T o L eave S tudent A ffairs. Barbara, a married mother of two, worked in student orientation, leadership development, and student services at a regional state university and at more than one small liberal arts college (Bac) She responded to the interview questions in a ve we re reflective and straightforward, almost like realizations rather than Though she spoke about her feelings, few of the narratives contain ed emotional languag e. If anything, they contain ed more dry wit than a heightened level of emotion. Even when she discusse d her least satisfying experience during her career Barbara relate d it to the rational choice to leave that particular institution, which was a poor
91 pro fessional and personal fit for her. Her basic narrative structure is Abstract, Orientation, Complicating Action, Result, Evaluation. In one of her most atypical story structures Barbara adds Evaluations throughout the narrative, resulting in a structure of Abstract, Orientation, Evaluation, Complicating Action, Evaluation, Complicating Action, Evaluation, Result, Evaluation. This longer, more complicated structure was in response to the fifth interview question which asked, to leave your career in student affairs? I never consciously made the choice to leave student affairs. (Barbara) A bstract Well, see the funny thing is I never consciously made the choice to O rientation ere (city of graduate program), got the job at (institution) and so we moved back to (city) I was pregnant at the time E valuation pregnant you (mentor) is now the vice president of student affairs; she was my direct So obviously when I got ready to go back to work I called (her). C omplicating A ction E valuation hy? That sounds horrible ( laughs ) B ut the person contacted me and like to talk to you; (mentor) gave bridges with (mentor) Complicating Action E valuation day and
92 this as a temporary thing for a short term until I can get something on campus. And then on ce I got here, it was really a joke with me and all my friends, you know like yeah, I work for the (government ). How can that not be funny? But I think the things that I liked here were the things that were different than student affairs. It wa have 82 here were no students crying in my office. That was and abilities were recogni zed more quickly here than in student affairs You think was that great but it was remarkable to people who had never seen it ke an icebreaker, you know, that we did in student affairs all the time Result Plus I promoted fairly quickly here and, I th ink, within a year or two of me starting to work here I had doubled my salary from what I was making in student affairs. Evaluation back? And actually I had lunch with (mentor) at one point and we were talking has been necessary for our family, I guess, I have two kids and m y husban development officer so he wor ks a lot of nights and weekends.. and it would be elementary school and their activities and sports and gymnastics and piano lessons and whatever, I just think it would be impossible to balance his schedule and my schedule, so the 8 to 5 gig is nice. I actually work 7 to 4 so better ( laughs Barbara detailed many aspects of how her life is different, and better, now that she n o longer works in student affairs even though that was not originally her intention. As a wife and mother, her government position allowed for flexibility that was not available to her during her student affairs career. That issue is one that was address ed addressed further in later sections of this chapter section, occupational concerns regarding being able to take time for family relate to tenants of liberal feminism. Barbara, among many other participants in this study, found
93 her student affairs career to be overly relia nt on long work hours and inflexible schedules, which she was not willing to fulfill. Thus, she made a choice at that time to take more flexible work, which led to her leaving her student affairs career. Barbara relate d many different things in this story which is possibly why she use d so many Evaluative statements between the other narrative elements. She start ed ed how took a gov ernment position, which she he things that we took for granted in student affairs were really appreciated here and that was nice Finally she discusse d how she doubled her former salar y through promotion within two years and how the regular schedule allow ed evening give context in allowing the reader a more complex understanding of her perceptions of the situation in the narrative. Statements such as look for a job be cause what would clarity to her story about not finding work in student affairs after Barbara use d Abstracts more frequently than most participants. Perhaps because her narratives are so straightforward, this element wa s used as a way to set up the story before she explain ed la te work hours conflicting with family time and an example of her most satisfying work
94 experience, respectively. This might be due to the fact that most of her stories are so succinct. She elaborated in the Evaluation statements, but she made her immediat e point in the Abstract and then laid out the detail s in the later narrative elements. ed a very dry humor to relate negative experiences. Though her stories were not as overtly funny as with some other participants, I st ill found myself laughing frequently as she related stories where the Resolution ended up being different than I expected it to be, given the set up in the Abstract or Orientation. For example, in relating her least satisfactory work experience, interview question three, she detailed a horrific work environment (Barbara) Abstract Orientation affairs officer and I had two years of experience and they picked me. The person before me had been fired and the person before him had resigned like with no notice and so probably should have been a sign right there but my husband was my office you had to walk through a hallway that smelled like urine. Like a dirty locker room kind of smell. Yeah. My staff, they were not qualified. They were graduates of the college who had stayed on and, they meant well but they had no background i n student affairs. The residential program was a nightmare. They let students stay in the residence halls over school breaks with no staff. Yeah. We came back to like overflowing beer cans and used condoms coming out of the trash. It was, yeah. You n laughing )? describing possibly the worst work environment I have ever heard of She indicated that looking for somebody cheap to be their chief student affairs officer and I had
95 for so job had previously been filled by a man, the low salary available for a student affairs professional fits with the liberal feminist concern of gendered occupational issues mentione and 6. Barbara use d for her actions, as relayed in the narrative below of feeling unprepared to do her job interview question four, (Barbara) Abstract O rientation = I think my first job out of graduate school was as the director of orientation at (lar E valuation academically on paper I was very prepared. I did not, um, have the political skills to manage that environment. A nd orientation is probably the worst of all the student affairs [areas] all, you know, um, and I just did not have the political skills to navigate that well. remarkably takes responsibility for things that are C omplicating A ction I got a little walked all over that first year in that Evaluation Result Evaluation the same thing. And I was like, ohhh, which, you know, it sounds so obvious now
96 And so she, I think, really kind of taught me how to, um, navigate politically and how to think through the domino effect of you know, if you do this you realize t hat this chain very unprepared for my first year. Barbara spoke about being unprepared for the political nature of her first professional position as a student orientat ion director at a major state university (RU) participants, she discussed the benefits of having a supervisor who can help you navigate such difficulties and foresee potential problems. During her interview she also spoke of her mentor taking graduate students to high level meetings so that they could experience a little of what they might eventually work with, though th at full level of responsibility is still not evi dent until one is actually in that role. Many participants spoke of the importance of mentors, which will be addressed later in this chapter. Upon her return to the workplace after taking time off to have children, Barbara found employment in state govern ment. After having work ed at a major state university (RU) and a small, liberal arts college (Bac) state government for her was a walk in the park. She indicate d that the transition was difficult for her at first, especially because there was a timesheet focus which she explains in the story below Her worst problem about workin g in sometimes sees her student affairs paradigm shift that needs to be studied!
97 (Barbara) A bstract O rientation of work and you do it how and when you see fit and work nights and come in late days and work weekends and take off Mondays and C omplicating A ction And it took probably a year for R esult E valuation that that were just, um, almost painful, to go through and feel like, you know I w some hourly time before I went to the doctor or whatever. And so that was, I think the transition re frame your work environment that drastically If that makes sense. And a couple of weeks ago someone here was being very critical of me and described and whatever and she doesn ( laughing ). Because I can read and I can do research and figure out and so, you know, I think the skills I learned definitely have carried over whether people like it I liked Barbara tremendou sly and laughed frequently at her stories and subtle phrasing. For example, s he was n o t as immediately outgoing or effusive as some of the other participants but she was very friendly and forthcoming with details about difficult situations and her struggl es with them. S he spoke about having to reframe her perspective on her government job after having autonomy and freedom in student important part of her self reflection came in the story bel ow, in answer to the eighth
98 (Barbara) A bstract have tr usted my gut and if, in the interview just E valuation advice I would pass onto anyone And I have many times given that same advice to other people like i f you have misgi vings I mean to be honest t hat because I enjoyed my time in student affairs but I went into it.. Complicating Action Even in grad school I had the attitude or the mindset that I only want to do this for awhile Evaluation ve daily might as well go somewhere else and make lots of money doing that rather than, you know Orientation = I mean, even the mentors I had when I was in college were great Evaluation feel like I wasted that time because I think I built a lot of skills, um, because really R esult = (Pause) But I think career wise I could potentially be at a different pla ce now E valuation surprised were going to in that they revealed different R esults or E valuations than I anticipated For example, I was surprised when she said in the story above that she is not sure she would have gone into student affairs if she had to do it all over again and that her career could potentially be in a different place. She is the only participant in this study to
99 that time because I built a lot of skills, because really colleges are more political than likely much further along in her current role, she does not regret her time in student d that she would wa s over. Even the last part of the sentence quoted above was a surprise to me, though it Here is a woman who felt surprised by the poli tical nature of her first job in student affairs and was extremely unhappy at a small liberal arts college where as vice professional experience. It is n o wonder that s he reflect ed on the political nature of colleges and universities. Her first two jobs were highly steeped in institutional politics and then she left to start a family After having worked in a government agency, Barbara never expressed difficulties li ke those she faced during her student affairs career. She discussed times at both institutions where she worked in student affairs, one a research extensive university (RU) and one a small liberal arts college (Bac), where she felt unable to handle the po litics of the institutional culture. While anyone probably would have had difficulty in those situations, her gender most likely compounded the complexity of the Women in higher education are caught in a dilemma, largely excluded from full pa rticipation based on their perceived difference, and included with the expectation that they will adapt to existing institutional norms and accommodate their differences
100 (Glazer, 2000, p. 172). She was stuck in situations where she did not fit in and h ad few resources to assist her, so she decided to leave those institutions. The final point that Barbara made that struck me wa s her admonition spoke about how she should have tru vice president of student affairs position at the small liberal arts college. If she had done so and not taken that job, she might have ended up in another institution that better fit her values and ideals. She might still be in student affairs. However, as other participants have expressed, she did have difficulty finding a student affairs job at the ff to have children. Even if her last student affairs work experience had been a good one, she might not have been able to return. That issue will be addressed later in this chapter. Barbara left her student affairs career accidentally due to pregnancy and relocation for S tory: It A ll G oes B ack T o the F eeling O f B eing N eeded. Carrie is single with no chil dren and worked in housing, student services, and judicial affairs at a research intensive state university (RU) Her stories were more echoed that of most participant s, was Orientation, Complicating Action, Result, Evaluation. However, this basic structure was mostly evident in her Yellow and Red Green responses evoked long and so metimes multiple stories to relay experiences that explained her perspective in response to an interview question. Her Orientations tended to be rather lengthy in comparison to other participants, and frequently they
101 were mixed with Evaluation statements. For example, the structure of her narrative response to the first interview question, student affairs graduate preparation program. Her titl e story below i s an example of one of her more complex responses. Here, she incorporated Abstract, Orientation, Evaluation, Orientation, Evaluation, Complicating Action, Evaluation, Result, Evaluation, Orientation, Evaluation, Orientation, Evaluation in her response to the first question (Carrie) A bstract O rientation And I was, where I was a very involved student which was very rare. E valuation was not a state student and research shows that out of state students are most, it takes them the most time to get integrated into the university particularly when everybody else at the university is from that city or minimally that state. So the O rientation So I, and what triggered me getting really involved was I was really homesick college and so my family was s till continuing with mandatory Sunday dinners at home and I was missi back at E valuation and I for me not to go back home. And so the only thing that I could think of to do was find a way to get C omplicating A ction and then from there I got involved in the dorm student government And then I became an RA and then it j ust kind of happened, my involvement just kind of
102 Evaluatio n leadership opportunities at the university. So one of the most popular things was I was an alternate and that was devastating because this was the first time in my R esult year and then I ended up being an orie ntation leader and then I joined my sorority and I was a leader in my sorority and then I was very involved in the Student Alumni Association because as an out of state student I was always wondering where were the alums in my town that I could connect E valuation thought well, maybe I should be a student and talk to people about how easy it is to make the transition, you know, from out of state Orientation = ultimate leadership experience at the university was I was student government vice And again, first time and I lost by five votes, right? Evaluation = B ut I l ost by five and then, but again ? Like, Orientation = And so I ran the second time and just won by a landslide and so that was the, my senior year that just coupled w hat I thought, I mean, do this for a living. Y ou can have so much fun on a college campu s And that was just like my l eadership stuff but I [also] had work study. I pretty much had work study in every office on our campus so I started off in the post office Evaluation = which was totally fun. Those l adies loved me over there and, I And then I worked in the intramural office. So I worked in the two offices where you see the most people. Most people kind of need you. Um, so that, I think it That is Faye and Ingrid simila rly indicated that their most satisfying experience s in student affairs were time s when they were needed satisfying
103 argument could be made for this role of helping students being important to these women. Whether it i s related to gender is a question for another study involving men in student affairs. Carrie use d experience she was relaying in answer to my interview question. She also used h umor as just her narratives. Thus, her longest stories were those in which both humor and emotional elements were included, as in the example above. In these stories, her O rientations and Evaluations were longer than in stories where she did not employ humor or emotion. For example, in her story about choosing a graduate program Carrie told of to a suggestion of a particular graduate program for student affairs. This story contained emotion but little humor and was rather succinct. Her first example of a most satisfying experience in student affairs work also relayed emotion but was not a funny story. Her Evaluation included the comment: best experience just seeing the light bulb go off for them.
104 student affairs work came in a story about working with four female roommates who could not get alo ng but refused to move. but no, everyone was too stubborn so they lived together for four years. This example shows humor but she is not emotional invested in the story. Thus this narrative was also one of her shorter stories. ples of when she was least satisfied working in the field of student affairs, and one example of when she was most satisfied. It makes sense that stories about her best and worst moments in the field would contain emotion. As an example, below is part of an Evaluation statement in the story that she identified as an emotional example of being most satisfied in her student affairs career. In this narrative, she spoke of students who think no one understands their experience. So when they would get to know working with you and I need you to know you c smacked me upside the head or made me call my mom from your office, I This story conveys humor, in her tough love approach to getting students on the right track, and also a great deal of emotio n. In stories regarding conflict between work responsibilities and non work responsibilities, interview question six, her responses tended to be more straightforward with little humor or emotion. Since Carrie is single
105 with no children, her responses to this question were less emotion laden than those of participants who told of leaving work to care for small children. Similarly in response to interview question eight, she had little to say about doing her life over again if given the chance S he indica te d It appears that questions about the most and least satisfying career experiences average we re longer than most participants, the stories she told at great est length tended also to be the stories others told with more detail as well. Their narratives of most and least satisfying work experiences during their student affairs careers and the commo nalities across their stories will be explored further in later sections of this chapter. er stories frequently wound their way around multiple details and sub narratives to reach a conclusion that presumably satisfied her as a complete respon se to the interview question. As mentioned previously, her responses were typically longer and more involved, both structurally and contextually, than most participant responses in this study. Further investigation into the transcripts revealed typical p articipant responses of 15 to 30 lines of transcript per story, with longer, more narratives and frequent exchanges between Orientation and Evaluation made her shorter stories approximately 40 lines of text and her longer stories over 100 lines. Due to formatting differences and omission of some extraneous and identifying information, the story above appears to be 46 lines when it is actually 60 lines of text in the transcript
106 It is important to note that four participants, Carrie among them, tended to have longer stories than the others (i.e. 60 to 80 lines of text or more for complex stories). Of the four participants who used longer narratives in response to questions, two of them were know n to me prior to the study and two were not, including Carrie. Of the latter two, however, I felt an immediate connection to. I expect that this ease felt on my part was conveyed in my behavior and body language, if not also in my language, and perhaps t hat is why these participants felt comfortable confiding in me in great detail. Perhaps age and reflection also resulted in longer answers, though one of the participants who responded with longer, contextually rich narratives was one of the youngest in t he study. This younger participant also commented about reflecting on the interview questions in advance, which led her to consider important aspects of what she wanted to convey in relating her experiences. lted in me laughing throughout the interview. This possibly spurred her to more detail, though my non traditional surprise element in the story. So I am not sure wheth er my responses spurred her on or simply gave her the satisfaction she sought in telling a story well. Certainly she would have no reason to change her narrative structure in either case, since more than likely my laughter fulfilled both actions of spurri ng her on and providing satisfaction for a story well told. For example, Carrie ends her third example of an experience when she felt most satisfied working in student affairs interview question two, with the statement,
107 question. So it would see m that I overtly encouraged her to give long, involved stories but she had done quite well with this prior to my verbal encouragement. Of all the participants, Carrie seems to be the most natural story teller. I get the sense that she is gifted at it an d is probably a popular conversation partner. I continue stories during our interview. I ask ed her later whether she had thought about the questions in advance, as they had been emailed to her, and she said she had not. stories seemed to come right off the top of her head. She did not need time to think and she did not hesitate. This leads me to believe that she is open and forthcoming in most aspects of her life, since she shared some very personal experiences with me. Carrie is one of three single participants, and she has never been married. She indicated in one narrative that she fears she has made herself intimidating to men because of her financial se lf This response was a sub narrative of her brief response to interview question eight about doing anything differently if she had the Evaluation about her corporate career after student affairs, which led to the statement above as a Complicating Action and follow up Evaluation. Her final evaluation
108 know that it typically comes up as rela tionships start to develop or not develop as a I wonder whether the push for advancement in student affairs leads women to either focus on their families or on themselves, to the detriment of one or the other. The job does not seem to leave much room for life outside of it, so one may need to choose student affairs, and all of higher education for that matter, could be more family friendly. The higher education system was created when men (faculty) worked and lived on It eventually became a system where mostly men (faculty and higher level administration) worked long hours while their families were raised by wom en who stayed at home. However, that system is increasingly outdated in a world that has not seen the traditional two parent, single provider household for the past 60 years (NCES, 2003). Maybe it is time to bring higher education and student affairs int o the 21 st century and pay women what they are worth a long time liberal feminist perspective, as well as provid ing family friendly policies so that women, and men, do not need to choose between having a career and having a personal life or family. This perspective is relevant to postmodern feminism which encourages changing institutional policies so that they fit the needs of the constituents rather than requiring constituents to fit within the limited policies of the organization. Th ese issues will be addressed further in C hapter 5 A direct example of this issue is related in the title story of the next participant, Donna, below. For her, the choice appears to have been simple. However, she gave
109 additional insight in later narratives that reveal he r impressions to be anything but simple. I T hought I t W as M ore I mportant F or M e T o B e H ome W ith M y C hild. Donna is a married mother of two who worked in student activities at a small liberal arts college (Bac) Her stories we re short and succinct and she has one of the shortest transcript s of all the participants, at ten pages long. However her narratives are similar in structure to the other participants and they are well thought out. Her title story is in response to inter view question five Abstract Orientation Evaluation would have been paying more for child care. And you know student affairs hours Complicating Action Evaluation Result Evaluation to work in full time and do all that kind of stuff, but it was just something that I ly it just would have really made no sense for me to be paying my salary to have somebody watch my kid and, mom so you know, as I said my background was in education so I mean, what I wanted to do. Coda
110 Do I con tinue to work, full time or part time, or do I stay at home full time with my child? For Donna, this was an issue she discussed with her husband and eventually decided based on two factors: she had been an elementary school teacher and liked caring for sm all children, and her student affairs salary been paying more for child care Thus Donna chose to leave her career and devote all of her time to her family child discussed further in C hapter 5. Donna is the only participant to use Codas regularly and her typical structure is Orientation, Evaluation, Complicating Action, Evaluatio n, Result, Coda. In fact most of her stories reflect this structure. Her most complex story, the title story above, reflects her basic structure with an Abstract at the beginning and an additional Evaluation before the Coda. Whereas most other participa nts end their stories with an Evaluation, Donna was it finished and we could move on t o the next question. we re short, they are not without reflection. She indicate d as much in her stories. She has also thought about her student a ffairs career and those of her colleagues from graduate school. Each of these are reflected in the
111 stories below. This next story is in response to interview question eight (Donna) Abstract go to graduate school, that was what I had to do at that point in time. Just in my Orienta tion Complicating Action anywhere else and not that moving an hour further west was anything different Result Evaluation school. One. help me refocus myself a Coda Even though Donna chose to leave her student affairs career to raise her children, she indicate d that she would not change anything were she to do it all over again. Going to gra who chose graduate school in higher education administration after working for a few years, in this case teaching, and deciding that she needed to do something different. M ost participants attend ed graduate school immediately after college. Donna knew when she started graduate school that it was a redirection for her life, a new beginning rather than the beginning of a first career. She was refocusing which was what she
112 needed to do at that time. This career redirection is in keeping with the literature that contain many stops and starts ( Bierema, 1998). Low p ay, the choice to have children, starting anew all are reasons women may have to leave a career and start another. This will also be addressed further in C hapter 5. next story is in response to interview question 10 you want to share that we did not cover? Anything that would add to my understanding surprised by her response, though the evaluation points to issues within the field that other participants mentioned as well. and it was a difficult decision for me. However, I felt that the universality of the choice she had to make in her title story outweig hed the revelation related below. (Donna) Abstract Evaluation Orientation Evaluation really think that had a lot to do with it. Flexibility Complicating Action Result Coda Once again a participant indicated that student affairs work is not conducive to families and/or married people. Alice and Carrie both expressed the same concept and
113 Elaine, Hattie and Ingrid rception extremely short sighted of a professional field to educate and train workers and then have policies that discourage t hem from remaining in the field. Low salaries and long work hours make it difficult for one to attempt to balance work and home lives. For participants of this study, one or both of those concerns led them to leave their student affairs careers. Donna d oes not indicate whether all of her cohort members, who have all left their student affairs careers, are women. However, the issues that made her choose to leave her student affairs career and those she indicated were instrumental in her colleagues choosi ng to do the same, are relevant to both men and women. More and more men as well as women are choosing to spend more time at home with family, so workplace policies that allow more flexibility will be of benefit to all workers Policy implications of t hi s issue will be addressed further in C hapters 5 and 6 The next story Donna relate d is also unique to her but similar to others in concept. She discusse d having difficulty planning her wedding since both she and her husband worked in higher education or in areas related to it. The story is in response to interview question six regarding conflicts between work and non work responsibilities. She and her hu sband worked many important campus events such as student orientation and family weekend, so it was difficult to find a time that was good for both of their schedules. Plus, as she indicate d below, they wanted to invite coworkers so it was more than just a matter of taking time off from their respective work places. They wanted to pick a time that would not make their being gone difficult on coworkers. It
114 (Donna) Evaluation sense. Abstract Orientation like casinos and you know, like boxing rings a nd that kind of thing to colleges and Complicating Action Ev aluation they cover for us, whereas if we wait a little bit longer we can do this and you know, so I guess that was more of a work ethic thing for the two of us. Um, more ing these times, but it was more of a conscious ing to a certain extent with Result Evaluation in order for that to happen we wanted, we wanted to make it a time that was Coda This issue of working family dates around work dates was also mentioned by Alice and Faye, who said the decision came down to family reunion vs. family weekend. While no one else mentioned having difficulty scheduling their wedding, many mentioned missing things that they wanted
115 to attend but could not concerns with student affairs work were low pay and long hours. She entered the field after reexamining her life as a n elementary school teacher and then exited it after reexamining her life once again and deciding to be a full time mom. She indicated that h er graduate cohort members made similar decisions and we re no lon ger in the field as well I really think that had a lot to do with it. Flexibility and money and their lives One wonders if other graduate cohorts have similar at trition rates. This will be addressed in C hapter 6. Earlier Donna indicated that she would not change anything if she had to do her narrative, Whether one believes they are controlling their lives or an outside force is instead, the issues that made these w omen choose to leave their student affairs careers are still in existence. Difficult life choices are less difficult when one cannot pay bills or for child care. If student affairs and higher education want to keep highly educated and trained individuals in the field, some things need to change. People need to start noticing these concerns and doing something about them Elaine S tory: Nobody R eally N otices. Elaine, a married mother of one, worked in student activities and career resources at more than one regional state university as well as at a community college (Assoc) She was very personal in her stories and spoke about her
116 feelings in many of them, relating the issue in question back to how she felt about it. More than once Elaine in dicate d that a satisfying experience depended on whether she felt needed or had a purpose in doing her job. She stated Action, Result, Evaluation. Although some sections, typically Evaluations, we re longer in stories where she shared more personal det ails, the structure mostly stayed the same. Here is an example of her basic structure, with an additional very intimate Evaluation, that occurred in response to interview question six regarding whether she had experienced conflict between her work and non work life during her student affairs career relevant to her job satisfaction. She was having major difficulties that ended up resulting in her quitting her job and eventually leaving the field. Yet when she discusse d how horrible the situation was and how much she struggled, she felt like no one was aware of her distress. Nobody really notices. (Elaine) Orientation Yeah, sometime in the last year and a half, C omplicating A ction really sick. I was being, having diagnostic tests I took a lot of sic k leave E valuation And I was really fortunate in being able to flex my hours. Because I worked so many evenings and weekends that nobody questioned when I came and went, that that became a struggle because in my, with my own conscience I
117 So yeah, that was tough. ily deal with it all that well. R esult t of time off and flexed my hours and just kind of ran scared hoping that I was working enough. E valuation I probably could have really helpful if I had gone to somebody because, you know, I was just like living to have somebody to talk to but the thing is we would have periodic depression screenings and stuff like that at the school and of course I know what to look for. I conduct those screenings all the time. myself. I could send students to the counseling go to. Other than coworkers and t hey Oh yeah, I remember lying in bed and for when you were doing really well; nobody noticed when you were not doing really well. Nobody pretty much, You know? As long a s the programs are maintaining, n they felt supervisors or administration we re ignoring or misusing their staff, or the institutional culture seem ed to be unethical. Unfortunately, bad supervision seems to be en demic. As will be discussed later in this chapter, Elaine was not alone in finding her supervisors to be lacking. Unfortunately for her, it was not just her supervisors. If her coworkers realized she was having difficulty, no one did anything about it, leaving her alone in her struggles. the situation as she related her feelings and concerns about the situation being
118 discussed. She did this in stories such as when her job se arch coincided with her non work lives, above. Here she discussed family issues that weighed heavily on her. Like most participants, she also told longer stories about h er most and least satisfying work experiences during her student affairs career, which one might expect could contain emotional components. Those stories will be discussed along with other In her more personal stories, Elaine would frequently start with an Abstract and add in additional Evaluative information. For example, the story below follows the structure Abstract, Evaluation, Orientation, Complicating Action, Evaluation, Result, Eva luation Orientation, Evaluation. She immediately follows this story with a sub narrative, included after this story, to elucidate the story below. These stories are in response to interview question nine (Elaine) A bstract laughs E valuation directly in those words. Maybe you asked me when did I know I was go ing to leave. I think I told you all the reasons in the other questions so .. yeah. I left O rientation C omplicating A ction u will be involved in (another E valuation =
119 R esult presentations, I was doing this, I was doing that, I was employed in a grant E valuation that stro Orientation = ) I became mentors for my co workers, and I tried to give them what (mentors) had given me. Evaluation = ng their first experience. I mea n while I was at (later institution ) and while I was at (last institution) I stayed involved, I kept giving presentations but it was really, it kind of, it dwindled. had those 2 gentlemen in the beginning to really push me and to call me to my highest I guess. inside you a From here Elaine goes immediately into a sub narrative to further explain her perspective. Though brief and of traditional structure (Orientation, Complicating Action, Result, Evaluation) this s tory still contains her typical lengthy and very personal Evaluation at the end (Elaine) O rientation 30 minute mentor. My first boss had told me that every time he went to a conference he had people who he called his 30 minute mentors. he only saw at conferences or once in aw hile when he traveled, but that whenever he saw them they would sit together for 30 minutes and whatever, you know, whatever it was C omplicating A ction l you be my 30 minute R esult and I said, E valuation And we talked about it and one of his big things, this was one of
1 20 the reasons I was attracted to him because when he first be came president, he came around and talked. One of his themes that he was always coming back to was that your job should be nourishing. Your job should be nourishing. It should nourish you. And we talked about it and he summed it up. were good at it ; people even told you you were good at it ; it was fun you thought And that just r eally stuck with me. life right out of you you know? enough mon ey Elaine participated in personal therapy after a bout with depression, which she mention ed in one of her narratives and the results of which she discusse d in the story at the beginning of this section. I believe that the reflective nature of therapy caused her to look back on her work experiences and career decisions in a way that may allow for a deeper level of reflection in her responses than in those of most other pa rticipants. Certainly she verbalized issues of conflict with work While other participants discussed leaving their student affairs careers for personal and family reasons, Elaine included more intimate details in her stories and actually verbalized concepts of the work being detrimental to her health (i.e. discussing dep ression, bargaining with herself during her inner struggle to get up and go to work, etc.). She felt unsupported in her concerns and drained by the work requirements, until she could no longer remain in her career, much less the jobs and institutions that she left. How much her depression affected her perceptions of not being supported and how much was due to institutional culture will never be known. However, as she
121 Wh ereas Carrie used humor to accentuate both high points and low points in her career, Elaine laid out her life as if she were sharing a personal diary. Thus her stories were the most personal and intimate of all the participants. The stories where she con veyed issues she and her family were experiencing such as the two stories above, were considerably longer than when she spoke of a situation where she was not emotionally invested For example in her story of what sparked her interest in a career in stu dent affairs l ike other participant others, it was because of volunteer work in an academic department, rather than undergraduate involvement as a student leader. So when someone recommended she could do similar work for pay, she decided to try it. She was not emotionally invested in the story about finding out about student affairs as a career and thus that story was short in comparison to ones where she related more personal and emotional details Howev er, e ven in one of her shorter stories, a sub narrative that came Evaluation is long and complex. This again exemplifies the personal reflection about career and life choices and what one is worth for her compared to the other. (Elaine) O rientation = I remember I had made this joke at a professional development conference once. A have all kinds of rights and what have you. So one day we had a meeting for all of us in th e middle and C omplicating A ction received, I mean everybody laug Unless I, uh, even if I i s i f my boss meets with an accide R esult
122 E valuation payoff is not commensurate with the suffering. And Th e same 3% or whatever it is. You know, you have to move. You have to leave which makes it really hard if loves and pays a lot m ore than you we re those in which she wa s emotionally invested. Though she is reflective in the narrative above, sh e is not personally invested in the situation in as much as it does not affect only her. She is not being ignored or misused by her coworkers and supervisors. This story relates to a shortcoming in the system where she feels your work and career path may be affected by forces beyond your own skills and abilities. Thus this story does not contain the emotional depth of her more personal stories and is considerably shorter However, it does contain several telling points about dissatisfying aspects of a s tudent affairs remove the will to work long and hard. Inequality regimes exist when there are systematic disparities between participants in power and control over goals, resources, and outcomes; workplace decisions such as how to organize work; opportunities for promotion and interesting work; security in employment and benefits; pay and other
123 monetary rewards; respect; and pleasures in work and work relations one of her least satisfying work experiences in her student affairs career co chairing a committee for several months, only to have their work overturned. Another issue Elaine mentions is not being able to be promoted in the student affairs field without moving to a different institution. Later in the same story she indic have a family and your husband has a great job that he loves and pays a lot more than you Pro motion in this field is difficult enough when moving up means moving out, leaving behind friends and coworkers (Sagaria, 1988, Wilson, 2000). When one has a spouse and/or family that must be uprooted as well, the cost of promotion may become prohibitive. These issues will be explored further in Chapters 5 and 6. Elaine is one of the participants that I knew prior to the study so there is a level of comfort that she might not have had with another interviewer. However, I have heard Elaine speak freely to others about what she has learned from going through therapy and the insights she gained, so it is possible that she would have been similarly forthcoming with another researcher. In any case, I am indebted to her for her willingness to share her experien ces in such intimate detail. narrative came at the end of the interview. She has thought about what it would take to get her back into the student affairs field and right now the drawbacks are not worth the benefits to her. In re sponse to interview question 10
124 (Elaine) Abstract I feel like God has brought a lot of things into my life that my life has ended up not the wa Evaluation Orientation Certainly when I was 30 I thought I was going to be somewhere else in the field. I thought I was going to have adv anced to some position and have a certain salary. I thought I was going to have started my family by then, you know, all of that stuff. Complicating Action And none of it materialized by the time I was 30. Evaluation you are. element in there is, you know successful according to tradition or cultural, um, or worldly measures of So you know, Resolution My mentors asked me once, you know, would I come back and I Evaluation I said, I think I have so much to offer now and I really think I do. I I like no t having a schedule, you know. I like not But I would change the training like a little bit of assessment and how to wri te, you know But a lot of it was, in use it. And a lot of it is theories and models and not really how to relate to people. And the job is all And, I But it might have to be, there might not be any way to learn it without actua lly getting in the trenches and doing it. mentor. Elaine benefitted greatly from the mentors she had at her first job and at the last moments of he r last job in student affairs. However, even they were not able to keep her from jobs that were a poor fit or from supervisors who did not supervise her She spoke of how she felt that maybe this was the path she needed to take, similar to what
125 Donna had did I would do it completely differently Elaine went on to discuss changes she would incorporate into graduate preparation training, mainly adding additional counseling course s to better prepare student affairs practitioners for the level of personal advising they might be asked by students to do. This will be discussed further in Chapter 5. n her career, swept by forces beyond her control (i.e. falling into the career, moving for I feel like I wish, what I know now, that I could have handled it differently. Bu t in other way that I could do it, that I could think of. As stated previously, I feel that intimate in detail in this study Al l participants related personal experiences and thoughts on their choices but Elaine took her responses a step further in adding a deeper level of reflection. Likely this stems from both our previous relationship and, which has allowed her to reconsider her life and the choices she has made. It also made her question the training for student affairs professionals. She is the only participant who mentions the need for additional counseling classes in graduate pr eparation for student affairs work, as in a story she relate d about feeling unprepared for the level of personal advice that students would joking and chatting with me and
126 In addition, Elaine is the only participant who mention ed feeling in graduate school that got lost in the r ealities of the eventual lack of purpose or lost purpose that she felt must have been especially frustrating for her udents develop into maturity and learn how to be whatever, relate to each other and solve problems practice what you preach. Finding a good fit for skills and interest s at an institution that shares similar values is extremely important for success in this field. In one way or another, all of these participants have indicated the same, as has the research literature (Hirt, 2006). Even more so, finding a supervisor or other administrator who can mentor professionals through rough patches and help guide professional development is imperative (Renn & Hodges, 2007; Sandeen & Barr, 2006; Tull, 2006). However, even with great mentors, Elaine eventually got to the point wher e she felt that or inattentive supervisors into a state of depression. While she might have developed depression anyway, given her health and marriage diffi culties, her situation was worsened by her More than any other participant, Elaine spoke of being satisfied when she was able to use her skills and abilities and when she was filling a need in the field. That could be from getting positive feedback on a conference presentation that others found helpful or in feeling like she was helping students and coworkers. Conversely, she was dissatisfied when she felt she was stagnant or not bein g used appropriately or
127 effectively. The dichotomy between having wonderful mentors at her first job who were her or worse, highlights the range of experiences from very high to very low that is possible in this field. While Elaine indicate d than the other participants. While I feel like I got to know them all pretty well and r egret that the field has lost the skills and passion of these nine women, I especially feel the loss with Elaine. Perhaps this is because she has done therapy work and reflected so genuinely and personally on not only her own experiences but on the field as well. Her choice, along with several other participants, to leave to become a full time mother is to the benefit of her family but to the great detriment of our profession. Her responses and insights tempered my perspective of student affairs as a car eer field, and I will not be able to think of it in entirely the same way again I had not thought about the ways that a gendered institutional culture had made my own career difficult at times, such that I had also thought of leaving my student affairs c areer. Had I been married, I might have careers in order to focus on starting a family. Institutional policies and climate that create hostile or difficult work environme nts for women and/or mothers will be discussed further in Chapters 5 and 6.
128 Elaine made me look at my career differently and rethink the low points. Conversely, Faye reminded me of the high points I D id H er J ob F or S everal M onths It W as T oo M uch T o A sk. Faye, a married mother of one, worked in student activities at a small liberal arts college (Bac) Her stories were relatively short, and many of her insights were similar to the other participants and will be ad dressed later in this chapter under Commonalities However, Faye seemed occasionally to have a different perspective even when she reached the same conclusions This may be because her father was in student affairs so she was familiar with the time demands of the job. In her response to interview question one about choosing a career in student affairs, Faye indicated: I was there when they broke ground at the current location, you know, playing in the dirt, so I always knew about it. My father told me, you should really go i nto Eventually, Faye ended up in a graduate program in higher education administration and started her student affairs career. Some of her best and worse experiences are explored below. In her narratives Orientation, Complicating Action, Resul t, Evaluation. Only occasionally does she stray from this pattern, as when she adds an additional Evaluation to the narrative below. This story is in response to interview question three about her least satisfying experience working in student affairs highlights an issue brought up by more than one participant. Elaine also mentions filling in for open staff positions and finding it to be stressful. to ask. (Faye) Abstract
129 Orientation in, I was shocked that we hired someo ne with no student affairs background for a pretty pivotal position. It was the multicultural student organization leader and Complicating Action And kind of go t pushed Evaluation Result and she was pregnant when she was hired and Evaluation newspaper, the yearbook, you know, and all that other stuff I had going on and It was too much to ask. And not that, you know women should be able to go have babies, we need to be able to live In addition to the difficulty of doing two jobs for months, Faye felt the added frustration of having the person she was filling in for be someone she thought was not time jobs going over the period of several months. While everything both jobs covered may be deemed to be important, it is not logical to assume that one person can keep that pace. The issue of supervision and how it job satisfaction is one that comes up repeatedly as well as in the literature (Anderson, Guido DiBrito, & Morrell, 2000; Barnett, 1997; Barham & Winston, 2006; Bender, 1980; Blackhurst, 2000; Cook, 2006; Corral, 2009; Davidson, 2 009; Grant, 2006; Ignelzi & Whitely, 2004; Magolda & Carnaghi, 2004; Renn & Hodges, 2007; Renn & Jessup Anger, 2008; Stock Ward & Javorek, 2003; Tull, 2006), and thus will be addressed in C hapters 5 and 6
130 Faye use d Abstracts to set up all of her stories. y father was in student affairs; d have had a job before we left and The story below is one of the few that stray ed from her basic structure. In this story, she adds two additional Evaluative statements. This story is in response to interview question five regarding when she knew she wanted to leave her career in student affairs. (Faye) A bstract E valuation O rientation C omplicating A ction And eally? E valuation unprofessionalism of the hiring of one of my counterparts, you know, I could just see it, the wheels co ming off the bus. They were a faith based institution and C omplicating A ction tion, he was driving an hour in the other so we were working at opposite ends of the earth and we were Result really want our lives to be like this, and then very quickly we ne ed to change it. Evaluation student affairs. But I felt comfortable leaving that job because of the wheels
131 Faye indicate d that her work situation was untenable and she and her new leave her job was probably not that difficult. It is unfortunate that both situations occurred at the same time. Working positive, she might not have chosen to leave her job. She chose to leave her job because she and her new husband wanted t o live closer to where one of them was working and her job was not good. Also, as she mentioned above, she was not planning on leaving her career, just that particular job where she felt uncomfortable. However, even though profession, in effect she Barbara and Gloria also had difficulty finding student affairs positions after moving for hildren. The story below is in answer to question eight (Faye) Abstract Orientation got out Complicating Action ranted, you know, adopted our daughter and I was going to stay home and I always knew as soon as that child came along Result jobs and not even gotten an interview. Evaluation
132 Faye expressed fr ustration about not being able to return to her student affairs career and, more importantly, not even getting a response to her job applications. Like Gloria, she had training and experience for the jobs she applied to and yet she did not receive a respo affairs administration. Common courtesy would dictate that every applicant receive some kind of response. Logic would dictate that women with experience for the job in question shou ld at least be given a phone interview. Perhaps these women were applying for entry level jobs where hiring committees prefer red applicants directly out of graduate school. Perhaps the assumption wa s that professionals with experience would not accept lo w salary offers and non experienced new professionals would T he reality is that women with experience seem to be ignored when attempting to reenter the student affairs job market after moving or having children (Marshall, 2009; Nobbe & Manning, 1997) T his will be addressed further in C hapters 5 and 6. d images more than those of any other participant. As she spoke she use d colloquialisms and/ or descriptive phrases. For example, in one story she t old of a student leader being upset because she received her first B. you know, a student gets her first B ever and comes in and we just have a long talk Most people in student affairs probably know students like that and story reminded me of several that I knew. d their experiences more than the stories of any other participant. It was difficult to keep
133 my mind on her stories rather than drifting off into my own, yet her beautiful phrasings kept bringing me back as I waited to hear how she would describe the next memory. Finally, Faye in dicate d that had she known she would have difficulty getting back I n the story below she spoke eloquently of a butterfly meta morphosis. (Faye) Abstract Evaluation people that are going through a metamorphosis at such a pivotal time in their life Complicating Action Result Orientation Evaluation sophomore So even though Faye had some disappointing experiences during her student affair s career, the most disappointing for her seems to be the difficulty returning to it. She indicate d that she love d working with college students and wa passion for the work should find it difficult to get (re) hired to do it. Another participant who had difficulty getting hired was Gloria, who was unable to find an entry level position within two hours of her home from over twenty student aff airs jobs for which she applied.
134 A lways O n C all. Gloria, a married mother of two, worked in Greek life as a graduate assistant and Thus her stories are about her graduate experience and her perceptions of the field based on her graduate and undergraduate leadership experiences. Still, she had many insights into the positive and negative aspects of working in student affairs and articulated ma ny points similar to those of the other participants. She also made a few points that others had not made, due to her unique situation, and those will be addressed below. Like the others, Action, Result, Evaluation. Here she detail ed her frustration at receiving only one response letter from approximately 3 0 job applications that she sent over a six month period. This story is from her answer to question two about when she was most satisfied working in student affairs, when she revealed that she had not actually worked beyond graduate school due to her inability to get hired within her geographic area n o f (G loria) O rientation through school. C omplicating A ction and I fought diligently when we came back; I job hunted for months. And I had actually institutions around here. And I looked where I was traveling an hour, an hour and a hal R esult And I ended up working in the non profit industry
135 E valuation I wanted to! I wanted to desperately! I felt very tied because a lot of the institutions around here are state institutions and they have to post their jobs. jobs I literally got one letter back, out of all those applications. And I had the experience. I had the degree. was applying for positions that I specifica lly had very good experience in. I had lots of events experience. I had a lot of Greek life experience. I had a lot of residence life and student government, and I applied for jobs at all those, and I et called. Or even I literally, I think I got one letter back and it was within, it was months after I applied. And H ere was a wo man with graduate and undergraduate leadership experience in 3 0 job applications. This is a problem! Faye had a similar problem, but women trying to reenter the field after tak ing time off with their children are a different issue (Marshall, 2009; Nobbe & Manning, 1997) Gloria was a recent graduate applying for entry level jobs, and she received no feedback on her applications. It would seem as though common courtesy, if not Human Resources, would dictate a response to every candidate even if just to say that the position has been filled. What kind of message about our field are we sending to new and returning student affairs professionals if they cannot even get a reply to job applications? This will be discussed further in C hapter 6. As she indicated in the title story below, Gloria worried that her graduate experience portended full time work in student affairs where one is always on call. She explained this in a n example of her atypical narrative structure Result, Evaluation. This story was given in res ponse to interview question six regard ing
136 conflict between work and non work responsibilities and she indicates, as did Alice, (Gloria) O rientation school and I worked in higher ed, I was always available. When I was a grad assistant in the Greek housing system I was that way. I felt really comfortable with the house managers I worked with, and they called me all the time. E valuation always on call. You go out to have a glass of wine and you never know what C omplicating A ction had a student in their house with a suicide attempt note. always on call. a glass of wine. I thought, Oh, my gosh! Y R esult worked out and we worked the student through it, but you never know what kind E valuation career where yo u have to be at work at 9 and then when your work is done or And I think that is a high burnout rate, from my perspective, of a lot of young professionals in higher ed And that was one reason why, when I wen t into non profit and loved it, I knew that there was some, me. type of schedule based on my graduate experien Even though several participants mention ed this as being an issue, Gloria wa s the only one to specifically tie it to the she had children. That is why I chose this to be her title story. Even though Alice and Carrie also mentioned the hours being difficult, Gloria stipulated that it was not a choice for her to try to return to student affairs once she had her famil y.
137 However, Gloria also indicated that even in graduate school she was not planning on a long term student affairs career. Like Barbara, she had seen behavior that she did not like in higher level administration. She discusse d You She related this story in a sub narrative response to her least satisfying experience working as a graduate student in student affairs, interview question three. (Gloria) E valuation O rientation I mean I guess I nev er saw myself moving past the first steps of higher ed. I never saw myself moving on as a dean, or a vice president, or president of a university. E valuation want to stay in teaching was because I horizontal basically, to a sense. And that was one thing I loved about higher ed. motivator and so I would love to do it but I never sort of thought C omplica ting A ction president at (institution) and I can tell you from my experience as female, and not that anyone was ever derogatory or, but I was very good friends with the president above me and below me, and I can tell you their relationship and their mannerisms with them was very E valuation I mean when you walking into a room where, you could be the only female in there. scared or intimidated. I have three brothers. I grew up around guys, you kno w. I of knew there was more politics involved in it than I was willing to get into
138 Gloria indicate d that even in graduate school she knew she would not want to deal with the politics involved in higher education. Nor would she want to keep that schedule when she was starting her family. So, like Barbara, she was attempting to enter a career in which she did not plan to remain. Su rely this is a problem for the field. We are losing bright, dedicated women, in this case literally before they begin, rather than creating a system where they feel they can work and have a family or personal life simultaneously. Obviously some women w ill always prefer to be full time mothers especially when their children are small. As mentioned earlier, failure to rehire returning mothers is another issue in this field (Marshall, 2009; Nobbe & Manning, 1997) However, if women in graduate assistant ships feel that their work lives will continue to be as hectic, might not wish to continue. Graduate assistants are the life blood of student affairs. They are professionals in training and they do the work that cannot afford to be done otherwise. However, this time is also the time that they determine which areas of student affairs they prefer. We need to model that one does not have to make it to mid level professional or be yond before one is able to have time for self and family. Otherwise we are setting these professionals up for burnout, as Gloria indicate d More than that, we are setting the profession up for failure as we do nothing about continually losing dedicated, experienced professionals in the assumption that someone newer, less experienced and therefore less expensive, and probably single game, but growth in the field comes fr om promoting and supporting professionals, not
139 burning them out only to replace them with the next round of future burnouts. This issue will be discussed further in C hapters 5 and 6 So once again the field has lost a passionate, dedicated professional, this time before she began. This is extremely sad to me a s it wa s to Gloria as well. ally miss that. I had spent so much time and dedication and training to be something your mouth. If you know from my application experience it was kind of like, why where I am. So that was the path I was supposed to take. mentioned being on a path that led them to where they were now, where they were happy. Hattie mentioned similar feelings below, though her di sappointment with her student affairs career had less to do with difficult experiences and more to do with not being able to support herself. I C P ay M y B ills. Hattie, divorced with no children, worked in leadership development at a community college (Assoc) after specifically choosing something different from her graduate experience in residence life at a major state university (RU) She now works in a corporate setting and her stories we re short and to the point. She ha d only two really long, complex narratives which pepper Evaluation statements between almost all of the other narrative elements. Those stories are in response to questions about why she left student affairs and what I did not ask that she had expected me to The latter is detailed later in this section.
140 d Abstract, Orientation, Complicating Action, Result, and Evaluation, and this structure is interview question six about conflict between work and non work responsibilities. (Hattie) Abstract Orientation evening at home with my new husband without being interrupted. So you could Complicating Action thought I was really good about that. It just, yeah, something happens. It always Evaluation building. I tried to like you need to call the on Result many pa rticipants. Residence life, student activities, even judicial affairs positions all seem to have times where balance between work and personal life is difficult to achieve. Almost all of the participants indicated this. Hattie was a newly married woman during graduate school so she specifically sought work after graduation that would allow for a better schedule for her and her husband. Thus, she started working at a local community college. However, time at work was not her only difficulty, as is evid enced by the story below.
141 I chose this as the title story for Hattie because it addresse d several issues raised by several participants. She chose to work at a community college after she was looking for and because she could not support herself and her husband on her salary She referenced this difficulty in more than one of her narratives, as did Alice and Carrie. (Hattie) Orientation that there were not a lot of other folks like me from an educational background Evaluation Complicating Action Orientation = Result nts Evaluation t there. You do it because you love it not because of what you negotiate to 30 but still, eve n then, my teacher friends were getting paid well
142 U nfortunately loving your job does not put food on the table. ves moving to another institution, which for Hattie would necessitate relocating and asking her husband to move his job as well. some problems with entry level positions a nd with advancement in student affairs. Unless you happen to work at an institution large enough to have multiple levels of administration so that you can move up there, and they happen to have openings when you are ready for them, and they choose you rat her than bringing in someone with different experience, etc. it is unlikely that you will be able to advance throughout your career at one institution. So typically advancement in student affairs means moving to another institution, which usually require s relocating (Sagaria, 1988; Wilson, 2000) Moving oneself is difficult enough. Moving a trailing spouse whose job probably pays better is less likely to occur Elaine also brought up this issue and it will be addressed further in C hapters 5 and 6 Hattie had only two stories that did not follow closely to her typical narrative structure. Her most atypical narrative structure is when she discussed finding in corporate America what she had sought in student affairs. This story utilize d the following complex structure: Abstract, Orientation, Complicating Action, Evaluation, Orientation, Result, Evaluation, Orientation, Complicating Action, Result, Evaluation.
143 The narrative is in response to interview question nine, tho (Hattie) Abstract when I left I left and went and did Orientation rate America doing exactly what I did at colleges and universities. I was in charge of leadership development and Complicating Action ng Evaluation Orientation year contract position with a corporation here. I would try that for a year and if I Evaluation know I have a one be me quitting, it Result development background. They had a position running new employee orientation. And I was running five programs a Evaluation ype of position, but entry level Orientation So I was doing all the same type of work and educating people around the adults learn? And so my focus was teaching these folks and how to coach, develop and train people so that they Evaluation And it was like wow,
144 Complicating Action Result earner theories, which was just great, so it was just found out that there was actually lots o f interest in folks who had my background Evaluation decision to not go back was so easy, because I was getting everything that I had job but as soon as they found out about my background they offered me full time perfect. It was just like abso lutely the dream job, from a student affairs perspective, it was all those things that I had always loved doing in student So Hattie, like Carrie and Barbara, found fulfilling and much higher paying work outside of hi gher education. She was able to use her leadership development skills and do work that she enjoyed while being paid much more significantly. Maybe that is why many participants are satisfied with their current work lives, even though they may have experi enced difficult situations in their student affairs careers. The skills they learned allowed them to find interesting and fulfilling work elsewhere at much higher pay. Yet most of them say they would return to student affairs work, given the chance. Some qualif ied that by saying they would return if the money were the same. Others would like to return regardless. Obviously financial benefits are not the main benefits in attracting these women to student affairs work. However, a happy medium of being a ble to work more regular hours and be paid fairly for your work would be an improvement for the field. Is there a happy medium to be found? Obviously not everyone leaves their entry level jobs in student affairs for other careers. Some professionals ad vance to better
145 paying positions and higher level administration. Some leave the field, only to return later. Perhaps a future study will look more directly at this issue in determining why some stay in the field while others choose to leave. In respons e to my last interview question, is there anything else you would like to say, Hattie said this. I think when I thought about this And secondly, I just was disappointed with the career path and the financial compensation. Even if I was doing a good job I was never going to get more than a 3%, so I was sunk unless I started moving. So I really had left to try to get a better negoti ating salary. I just never came back because I fell in love with this other; different from others or not but I feel like I just really lucked out. I got everything I wanted from a passion perspective in that job. And I might have gone back but not after that. Hattie changed careers in order to make a higher salary, intending to return later compen work that satisfied her passion for benef it of student affairs work while garnering a much higher, livable salary. H dissatisfaction with her student affairs career led her to change careers to a more satisfying one. Ingrid mentions similar themes below. Why W omen C hoose T o L eave T heir C areers. Ingrid, a divorced mother of two, worked in student services at multiple regional state universities She is the oldest participant and has reflected on her time in student affairs, leading to several narratives where s he state d more directly than any other participant how student affairs can be a difficult career field for women. Her basic narrative structure wa s also somewhat different from other participants in that it include d
146 an additional Evaluation statement: Ori entation, Complicating Action, Evaluation, Result, Evaluation. Ingrid use d Abstracts in her atypical stories : careers and She rarely use d Codas but did in her first story about getting interested in a career in student affairs after being involved in college and meeting with student affairs administrators when she traveled for her sorority. She indicated in her Coda In her last narrative, in re Why women choose to leave their careers A bstract C omplicating A ction E valuation st unfortunately the realities some of mine that stayed in. So it really, in the long run, do s kind of R esult really decent benefits overtime and retirement if you, if they can get through the mid career part of it and keep, you know E valuation Anyway, i why, trying to figure out why people are leaving. I keep going back to motivators. You know, what gets us keeps us in unless there is something, unless a dissatisfier evokes that. You know, like a perceived unfairness in your work or, you know, things that make it unsettled what you put in you get out
147 le story. Ingrid indicated love it, and then you need financial remuneration to offset the fact of no longer loving your job. Is the answer that women time consuming and less rewarding than they This will be discussed further in Chapters 5 and 6. Ingrid worked in judicial affairs for awhile and spoke of how difficult that work could be. She recalled a student who has having behavioral problems to the degree that staff members were concerned for her safety Yet even with the difficulties Ingrid relates about judicial work below she related this story is in response to interview question two about her most satisfying work experiences in student affairs. I remember how you change and save lives (Ingrid) A bstract = I remember how you change and save lives. O rientation officer we would bring students in to make sure they were okay to sometimes C omplicating A ction probably on the road of having sever e E valuation enough to Baker Act her ( hold her in a facility for her own protection ) or to do anythin
148 R esult because I cared enough about somebody. Going home and not knowing if she made it through the night E valuation Frequently judicial affairs work can mean making tough decisions when others may not agree with you One story Ingrid told was of sanctioning a student athlete when she had pressure from others to go easy on him. She note d how these difficult decisions we re compounded when you feel unsupported. Ingrid related this story in a sub narrative as a specific example in response to interview question three ab out her least satisfying experiences working in student affairs. (Ingrid) O rientation the time came in with this football player which is typical, probably not the right thing to do in their role but whatever, they did. You know, he gets up and storms E valuation = But that you know in your heart, and I have a heavy heart in my work, probably too much, but in a judicial capacity you had to make hard C omplicating A ction ecause there were issues that arose from that, you know, [ that ] were coming top down, you know there were some pressures E valuation own m R esult E valuation did what was But I think you get tired, when those things h appen, the Ingrid indicate d the other things start
149 home life. Support from supervisors and cowor kers may help to offset that, but eventually the good may be outweighed by the bad, or the simply not good enough. Perhaps Ingrid and the other participants gave too much at work and did not take care of themselves sufficiently. Health issues in women st udent affairs professionals have been noted in the literature (Spurlock, 2009). Certainly all have indicated that there was a time when they felt the need to change careers. Perhaps the student affairs profession attracts energetic, idealistic young peop le and then as Alice put it, sets in. more difficult. For Ingrid, some of the difficulty was self inflicted. In response to interview question six about conflict between work and non work responsibilities, Ingrid replied (Ingrid) O rientation E valuation C omplicating A ction ice, teaching an adjunct course at a local Result Evaluation I mean so those are the non work things that we do, as professional women probably, Ingrid indicate d an adjunct when she became pregnant, yet she feared being thought of as less committed so she also entered a part time
150 d that this fear of being seen as less Perhaps Ingrid felt e edged sword realities of the pressures of attempting to do it all simultaneously. Alice mentioned how she felt she could not do both jobs well. Ingrid indicated, pressure to prove oneself capable of doing both full time jobs well, career woman and mother, can be too much and has led to backlash against the liberal feminism movement (Tong, 2009). I wonder if young women c oming into graduate schools today still feel this need when she grew up as part of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s ). Other participant s mentioned choosing to leave their careers, some thinking that would be temporary, in order to focus on starting their families. However, Ingrid is the only participant who attempted to do both and chose not to leave while her children were young. She t hought about it as, which will be explored in a later section However, children were not the initial reason for her choosing to leave her student affairs career as she was able t o successfully though with difficulty, navigate career and motherhood simultaneously. Perhaps because of her experience s Ingrid commented more on
151 C hapter 5 I really enjoyed my short time with Ingrid and felt an immediate connection with her. During the interview, she asked if people had difficulty with the interview questions, particularly the one about least satisfying times during their student affairs careers. S he to her mentors and thank them for impacting her life. Ingrid, like all o f my study participants, has impacted my life by helping me to reconsider my chosen career field. Their stories were insightful and plentiful and I appreciate their honesty and willingness to share them with me. In the next section of this chapter, I dis cuss commonalities in story content across multiple participants. Commonalities Now that each participant has been introduced and some of her stories have been addressed, the next sections will cover stories that many women had in common. Specifically, th e initial entry into the student affairs career was very similar for most participants, and many of the women had similar stories about their most satisfying work experiences during their careers. Unfortunately, there was also commonality across stories o led to the most surprising answers for me and will be addressed at length later in this chapter as well as in C hapters 5 and 6. Some of these common stories are Green a nd some are Yellow, in that some were more complex and complete narratives and others were less extensive. Highlights of the narratives will be detailed below, followed by individual stories that were not
152 repeated across participants but seemed to be rega rding important topics. As mentioned previously, all of these topics will be discussed further in C hapter 5 What Sparked Your Interest in a Career in Student Affairs? Most women indicated that student involvement as an undergraduate, along with possibly a suggestion from a student affairs administrator or graduate assistant, led to their interest in a student affairs career. Many had other career goals at the time that did not prove to meet their expectations, such as teaching or being a lawyer, which al low ed the suggestion of a career in student affairs to encourage them to inquire about graduate programs. Many referenced the importance of mentors to their choosing words below this career field, since it is not one that children are familiar with and pla n to be when they grow up (Brown, 1987; Hunter, 1992). Actually one participant was familiar with this field as a child as her father was a vice president of student affairs, but she originally wanted a career in Physics (Faye). However, for most studen t affairs undergraduate experience while working with student affairs professionals or graduate assistants (Taub & McEwen, 2006). For some, the suggestion was made by current stud ent affairs professionals, them when they were unhappy with their current job or pr ospects and wondered about
153 For many participants, mentors they had as undergraduate student leaders helped them choose not only a career in student affairs but also a graduate program. they tol So for these women, lead ership involvement opportunities as undergraduate students led directly or indirectly to a career path through student affairs. However, none of these women chose to stay on that path. Their experiences and what led each to leave their chosen profession will be explored in subsequent sections of this chapter What Was Your Most Satisfying Work Experience in Student Affairs? interest in a career in student affairs he women told more than one story in response. Of the nine participants, seven told of a particular episode helping students as an example of their most satisfying work experience in student affairs. A their story was about helping students or about filling a need within the field (Carrie, Elaine, Faye). Some spoke of an experience that fulfilled a particular personal interest, such as working an event with a favorite band or performer (Donna), or one that they felt truly made a difference such as narratives of some of these experiences are below.
154 situation being recalled was positive or negative. Examples of the former included taking students to professional conferences when they have never traveled before think they had leadership skills (Alice, Barbara, Carrie, Hattie). Negative situations that turned into satisfying experiences for the professional, if somewhat later, included adjudicating difficult judicial or disciplinary cases that led to student growth and development (Carrie, Ingrid), and helping students deal with the aftermath of September 11, 2001 (Faye). In speaking of taking a student who had never traveled outside her home city to a conference, Hattie indicated what she was helping students discove It was more than just school; it was life Abstract trying to better themselves and trying to help them figure out, it was more than just school; it was life. Evaluation : And I just remember taking her and just like that, that was the most never been to another s tate, never had those types of, so to see someone kind of be exposed to that type of ne w activity, new development, t hat was really kind of a cool thing So I really felt that was rewarding Alice also spoke of taking a newly involved student leader to a conference and watching her get excited about student activities. This student was had been involved only in Greek activities. Then she got on the programming board She was fantastic at it and it was really good because it was an identity redefi thought she could be
155 Similarly, Barbara spoke about students being influenced by a summer orientation ex perience, where you could really see changes during that specific time That intense leadership experience where if that person changed it is likely because they participated in that program so you know you can kind of take ownership of that These stories exemplify how working with college students and seeing them develop made the women proud of their accomplishments and efforts. Their most It was tangible thi ngs that you worked on and people were appreciative of those things and you saw the difference that you made (Ingrid). Sometimes making a difference was not an easy or pleasant experience. Nor was it always immediately obvious. Carrie recalls such a sentiment in her story, Just seeing the light bulb go off for them. I guess the best experience [was] just seeing the light bulb go off for them. So I remember on so many occasions seeing some of my most troubled pain in the butt freshmen and they would literally come back to me the next year and tell me how something that I probably said like flippantly, just like in the heat of the moment and d so impacted them that they turned themselves around. Occasionally those students wo uld return later to say thank you. That made those difficult moments worth it for these women, as in How much of a are there. I there were momentous times that brought great joy to me S o again, most of these women felt that their most significant work experiences during their student affairs ca reers occurred when they were helping students and being
156 needed. Many of these experiences have created memories that these women will I felt so rewarded. (Faye) September 11. I had a student whose parents were, had had breakfast and had left the building but had ju st gotten out of the building, and that day I had a stream of students through my office I get goose bumps. I felt so rewarded that they trusted me and that they needed me for guidance and that I was doing my counselor guid ing job. That was the most rewarding day. For these women, helping students and being needed by them or by others in the profession gave them the opportunity to use their skills. Some of their most satisfying work experiences were not related to studen ts at all. Instead, they were times when the professional felt she was using her skills and abilities to their greatest advantage (Elaine, Ingrid), such as giving a presentation at a professional conference and receiving positive feedback on the need for the topic (i.e. filling a need in the field). Those narratives about most satisfying experiences that were not about students were about being able to use their abilities. Similarly, many least satisfying moments in student affairs work came when the wom en felt they were not being used effectively, or worse were being misused or abused. Those stories are explored next What Was Your Least Satisfying Work Experience in Student Affairs? Though there was more variety in the responses to this question, one r epeated theme was feeling like one was being asked to do things that were unethical or inappropriate Some women felt that their supervisors or higher level administrators were asking them to do things that were not in the best interest of their students or themselves (i.e. to protect the institution) or would be detrimental to particular groups of students (i.e. unfair or inconsistent practice). A few felt their life or health was in danger In or der to protect the anonymity of the participants, these stories will not be identified by the storyteller
157 Unethical behavior One woman spoke of the difficulty of working for a boss, and institution, where the culture was rather be unemployed. I felt like no one around me had any ethics. The rules were nonexistent, and my boss was very controlling and, um, I tend to use the word evil He would call me into his office a This is an at will employment state I could fir e you right now if I A nd you k There was a situation w here two o pposing sports teams had an off campus brawl; s ome of the students went to jail; w e were treatin g the two groups differently; o ne was majority African Americ an, one was majority Caucasian. submitted by l etter of resignation and It was a horrible work environment. There was nothing good about it. Obviously this is not a typical work situation but higher education, like other hierarchical organizations, may allow power inequities su ch that workers feel they have little recourse to improve their situation. universities provide an environment in which those in power who are inclined to take advantage of power have the opportunity to Hagedorn, 2000, p. 209 ) Unfortunately, the story above was not a singular situation. A nother woman saw issues at work that made her question whether she would be willing to do what she felt rego what I believed in to get there. And you definitely had the feeling that you would have to do that. I saw it happen. The vice president that I was under up things, but not make choices that I understood or agreed. And I knew him personally, I had known Not to And it was very frust rating. wanna be sucked into a situation people above you making choi Well if I was in that posit ion and that was my job these are the choices I would have to make and the
158 choice I would make is NOT the choice the institution would want me to make. And so my career path would be short! Either short or difficult, one of the two. For both of these w omen, the environment around them was untenable and even hostile. Neither wanted to stay long in a career so unlike what they had expected it to Elaine discussed in her story earlier, they also made these women question their choice ( s ) to do this work. However, theirs were not the most difficult experiences recalled. As difficult as being around people whose behavior was seen as unethical proved to be, a few participan ts were actually afraid for their health and safety Unsafe behavior Another woman spoke of a time when she truly felt her life was in danger. She So now my life is in jeopardy. I was te lling everybody like my boss and his boss I spent so much time on that floor at night those boys know me. This is one team that cannot live together The sens e of entitlement was ridiculous I can see this is a coming train wreck. t happened. It was a train wrec k. They put up a bulletin Top 10 Things to Do and number one was like gang bang your [residence] hall director with a baseball bat. So now my life is in jeopardy So finally they were all separated acros s campus and moved but it took that much time to, where I saw it coming. That was probably one of the most negative seven months that I spent in student affairs. It was like that moment could overs career that I had in student affairs. Another questioned one of her job responsibilities as It went against everything I had been taught. My first year a s a professional, quote/unquote, one of my jobs included running the bar on campus. Um, we served beer to students that were 21 and older for nothing. And I was in charge of that I hated that. It went against everything that I had been taught. g for the good of the students. Because you know the 21 year old students were t he ones that were fine. It was the under aged ones that were a royal pain and that were taking cups o ut of the garbage to use again. That was very frustrating for me. And that fact that it
159 I was required to drive the mail van to pick up the keg That was so bad. It was horrible, yeah, to the point where by dad was even like why are you doing this These women were asked to do things they felt were dangerous for them, and they were not giv en the opportunity or authority to change their work environments. Neither indicated that these experiences were directly responsible for their choosing to leave their student affairs careers, but the stress of these situations most likely added to their dissatisfaction. As mentioned earlier, hierarchical work locations where one feels stressful (Acker, 2006). This will be addressed further in Chapters 5 and 6. T hese are ex treme situations, but participant narratives were more similar along these themes than I anticipated. Of nine women in this study, four reported experiences where they felt they were asked to do things dispirit with their beliefs and graduate training. A nother three felt that their jobs endangered their wellbeing. Whether they felt the risks were to their physical safety or to their mental health, none of the women expected to have these types of experiences in a work environment that purports to be bene ficial for college students. Moreover, in a profession that encourages student development, the personal development and wellbeing of professional staff, or the effort they put into their work, seemed not to be important. P erhaps it is the service nature of the student affairs profession that led these women to conclude that the jobs where they were unhappy were in opposition to their expectations and beliefs of what they should be. A few of the stories about being least sa tisfied with their work experiences in student affairs came from times when the women were frustrated by bureaucracy or ineffective supervision. Sometimes lack of
160 m ade for extremely long hours In all of these cases, it is likely that the women felt powerless to change their situations. This issue, along with others that showed up in the narratives, will be explored further below. It was one of those experiences where, you know you never feel more like a step And you know athletics trumps you and academics trumps you ( laughs ) and, other facets of stud ent life trump you. they really liked the look of it in brochures. So they really wanted to keep the thing but they really wanted us to tell them that tually gonna impede something. Well, where do you think we should put it? No We might eventu ally have a soccer field there. So it was just really frustrating. We final ly found a location for it. But even now, I mean every time I go back there, an element is moved or reoriented ( laughs ). It needs two more spaces of parking for you know, some Another frustration that was mentioned was being asked to spend ti me doing something that ended up being unused or disregarded, leading to feelings of wasted time and effort. More than one participant had such a story, but the most indicative is ch is abbreviated below: So we came up with a hundred ideas. Obviously one of the first things, because we were using the name (city), we looked at the (character the city is named after). But the problem with (character) is that it is very obviously mal e, and they because everyone wants this rolled out at orientation. And so we finally come up with 3 ideas So we got all said a nd done and meet with the group and they look me up with (male character the city is named after). (character) Wait, what? You gave us two things that would obviously tell us not to use ( the character) and the whole time you were just expecting of this ?
161 directly or not, can lead Higher education institutions and student affairs di visions, are inherently hierarchical and gendered organizations where multiple levels of administration remove decision making authority from those who carry out the decisions (Acker, 2006). This can make the work especially frustrating if one feels that no one notices or cares if the work is done well. We felt like we had to do it all. Another ti me that I remember being especially stressful was when my director The vice president there had dragged his feet on replacing him and so the 3 professionals left in the office, we kind of, we went crazy trying to keep up with everything and we rea lly kept the office functioning at a rea lly high level until, you know at one point we finally met with our dean who actually did not realize night, that at least one of us was h aving a nervous breakdown ever y day, you Okay, you need to drop some programs replaced is because your office is doing too good without him, you know, I mean But you know, that was really disheartening and so we had to, it was really hard to find things not to [do] We were j ust trying to keep up all the programs of the office better, if we had approached our dean or it we had a direct supervisor, somebody to say, and prioritize these things for us, you know. Tell us what you want done. Instead we felt like we had to do it all. Again, student affairs can be seen as a service profession. It attracts people who want to help students and to make a difference ( Komives & Woodard, 1996 ). Long hours and difficult situations can be expected at times, but extremes of either can lead particular job or even career choice. Worse, if one feels unnoticed or misused, feelings of worthlessness may arise. As Elaine mentioned
162 there of um, you know, the times used; Many p articipants had similar stories of feeling ignored o r misused which le a d s me to the determination that this does not seem to be an occasional or inconsequential occurrence. Further study needs to be done to determine how widespread and pervasive the problem is and what can be done to make it better. The extant research literature contains studies that question whether graduate programs fully prepare student affairs professionals for the realities of the work they will be doing (Renn & Hodges, 2007; Hancock, 1988). Thus interview question four was asked regarding whether these women felt that they were fully prepared in graduate traditional hours, such as housing and student a ctivities among others, was also an issue addressed by participants. Finally, participants were asked to discuss any conflicts between work responsibilities and non work responsibilities. These will be elaborated upon further in the next section. Issues Participants were asked if they ever felt unprepared for their roles as student p rofessional positions, either with duties they had not experienced before or in navigating politics unfamiliar to them. They were also asked about how different the reality of student affairs work was from their perception of it as graduate students. Fin ally, they were asked whether, and if so, how, work responsibilities conflicted with
163 non work responsibilities. The latter was not defined for them so that they could determine what non work responsibilities they wanted to discuss Feeling Unprepared A few participants mentioned feeling unprepared to work with budgets even though they had discussed them during their graduate training. Some did not expect a difference in coworker and student attitudes or expectations when they transitioned to work at ins titutions different from their graduate program and undergraduate institutions. When asked if there was a time when she felt unprepared, Elaine responded I was incredibly unprepared for that. When I got the job ( laughs ). I mean I used to have this con versation with my first dean. We talked about having imposter syndrome and feeling like, you know, one s are almost as old as I am and what do I know any better than them. I remember a student walking into my office one day and sitting a nd joking and chatting with me and then in the next sentence he said, I was incredibly unpr epared for that. You know, supposedly I had a counseling minor. I had had prepared for the personal relationships and the kind of, that level of what stude nts would be looking to me for. As Barbara indicated earlier, her first job out of graduate school was student orientation director at a large state institution (RU) She stated that she was not fully I do was aware how political things were. was my supervisor about including us was fully aware how political things were and how much you had to focus on who and you know, all of that matters. That was kind of startling. And then I think at each level you realize how much more there is to it than hen I was an orientation leader in college I thought I knew everything about how to run orientation because I had worked in the office with the orientation d irector and I kind of
164 heard what she was doing. Well, then I became a grad student and I was like, oh my gosh, you have to do this and this and this, too and so then I was absolutely sure I knew all the pieces and how to put them together and I went to my first job just at each level you, your eyes are opened to how much more there is to it than I then I was expected, in my first job my budget was like over $200,000 plus I had this slu sh fund of all this, this is wrong but the previous person had taken a lot of the orientation fees and put them in some special little account. I mean it was a university account but it was separate from the budget that gets wiped every year. So this car ried over every year and it had just built up huge amounts of money so I had all this money and they were telling me you need to spend it laughs ). My orientation leaders that year had like six shirts because we Looking back, if I had known more I would have used that resource wisely to prepare for down the road rather than, you know, buying extra pens and t shirts and ome Barbara explain ed Carrie and Elaine mentioned as well. However, supervisors need to be cognizant of the fact that new professionals are learning these aspects as they do the job, and they may need assistance. Presumably these women were meeting with their supervisors regularly, though that question was not asked of the study par ticipants. However, new as mentioned by Elaine earlier, where they are unsure of their abilities to do the job (Renn & Hodges, 2007). to student affairs. Thus she Nobody that could help me.
165 was the director of student activities. It was just a programmer ( entry level job) anywhere else. It was just somebody that would orient students that would send them on really, fairly big trips because most of the students wanted to travel I remember ow! T his is a lot of t was a really unorganized program in that it had always just kind of been like Joe Schmoe off the street who had no higher degree doing this and so the [ staff ] had no training. I mean these were grad students that were hired to go out and take a group of 20 students on an airplane to (city) for 3 days and come back with them. And I walked in fresh out of grad school and knew all the risk management, all the legal things, and I just, I mean my head almost exploded. Wit hin a, I think it was within a month or two I found out one of the [ grad students ] was dating a student, buying them all alcohol, and letting her live with him in his apartment. And I had to go through the whole process of firing whole and he kept not listeni ng and then breaking the rules. such a shock to the system, you know, to get out there and have to, there was nobody above me that could help me. I mean these people were really there to teach English to these foreign students and there was no hierarchy. It was in the student a ffairs. It reported to some director that just needed to make sure that she covered the And I just kind a had to grind in and just take it and then we So those participants wh o expressed feeling unprepared indicated that it was primarily during their first professional experience, when they had only their graduate classes and assistantship training to fall back on. This is in keeping with research on first year experiences of new professionals in student affairs (Renn & Hodges, 2007). Since most graduate assistantships do not include extensive budgeting practice or experience navigating politics, it makes sense that those areas would be less comfortable for student affairs pra ctitioners until they learn those skills. Furthermore, if responsive or does not have a student professional training mi ght be difficult. This difficulty, and the importance of having a mentor, is addressed later in this chapter. While most participants indicated that they
166 felt prepared for student affairs work after attending a graduate program, some of them found the re ality of the work to be different than they thought it would be Perception V ersus Reality of Student Affairs Work Many of the women expressed frustration at the lack of alignment between the lofty goals they felt to be espoused by the profession during t heir undergraduate experiences and graduate training and the realities they found to exist at their particular The job kind of lost its higher purpose. As far as like the programming and developing programs and assessment s and that kind of stuff, I guess the outline of t T here was a lot less emphasis on student development theory and good methods of program assessment and all that stuff we got drilled into us in grad school. That stuff wa s just formalities in the real job, because we were just getting it done. So a lot less attention I found was paid to them than I thought was going to be. So the job kind of lost its higher purpose that, you know in grad school you think you have this hi into maturity and learn how to be whatever, relate to each other and solve pro blems and all this other stuff. just teaching like a step by step conflict resoluti on method but you never, but conflict. And God forbid, even if we did use the conflict facilitation method to help the student governm ent get over their conflict, if we had a problem with our staff, forget it. There was no way. We You just start documenting until true. I mean when I think of all the conflicts that we had among staff members and there was no use of any of the techniq that we have learned in grad school. Many participants discussed how the outline of doing the job was provided in graduate school, but the increased level of responsibility or the realities of different institutional types were not readily anticipated a People just expect s. I think the only difference was like when I was an assistant hall director and there was someone there to protect me and take some of the burden off. But then I was running my own building and then I had to mold and mentor an assistant hall director, you know. I had to deal with a lot more that I, as an assistant director,
167 you think the hall director job is so easy, right? The level of responsibility was greatly increased once y People just expect that Alice had a similar perspective but spoke more about the level of supervision as a me know but otherwis I felt like I was pretty well prepared, honestly, for the reality. I mean it was fairly close. At (graduate institution) you get an incredible amount of autonomy and sup port so I guess that may be the ind of like Lord of the Rings. The Eye is staring at you, in grad school, and you really feel like, I guess if I had done a crappy job it would be a bad thing, but I felt for the have somebody that was always engaged and interested in what I was doing ( laughs ). And you get into the real world and the Go sit in your office and do your work. Issues mentioned above include work that betrays its perceived lofty purpose and increasing levels of responsibility that one was not quite expecting Both of these r. However, other realities may become deal breakers. professional reality being the lack of financial remuneration. She indicated that this is to be expected at the new professiona l level (whereas other participants felt it was still inordinately low), but fails to rise along with work experience as in other career fields. (Alice) I th ink the obvious thing is money. I mean, y ou know ot going to make a in this profession for six or seven years a making, and you know ny if not more hours than them. anything you can do when you realize how financially undervalued this profession can be.
168 three respondents (Carrie, Hattie, Ingrid), money was specifically mentioned as one reason they left the field. Three others (Alice, Donna, Elaine) also mentioned it as a reason for leaving the field, though not their primary reason. Another reason frequently mentioned was the difficulty having or starting a family, or keeping a new marriage a live, given the long work hours expected. These issue s will be explored further in the next section. Conflicts B etween Work Life and Non work Life Participants were asked to discuss whether work responsibilities conflicted with their non work responsibi (Carrie in an Abstract ). Alice spoke about the frequency of this occurrence as well. (Alice) I mean no matter what, student affairs is at bare minimum an 18 h our a day opportunity. There are a lot of 12 hour days. hours of the day where you can realistically get called. I got called at like, I want to say 1:30 in the morning one night because one of the fraternities was drivi ng around campus with a keg in the back of a pickup truck and the tap stringing through the little sliding window, so they could drink as they drove around. I And it really is, I think, that like from 7 in the morning you can the morning you can get a call from just about any student group or organization. .... You know, it was always a struggle to get home. Ther always You end up missing out on a You end up being known as th She probably Feeling like you are letting down your family and friends can be a great un motivator when it comes to being satisfied at work. Student affairs areas such as orientation, student activities, and housing and residence life typically have non
169 traditional work hours (i.e. not 9 to 5). It is probably not coincidence that all of these women worked in those particular areas. ( Table 3 .1 ) (Hattie) i fe. It was always conflicting. I think that was another thing that was reasons why I ruled out that as a career with my new husband without being interrupted. So you coul d never quite get away. married couple, bec ause I would always be working. Even if I se t boundaries and I was really good about, I thought I was really good about that. It just, yeah, something happens. It always does. Because they know where you And situation going on. But I never wanted to be one of those types of hall directors s like I needed to know what was going on in my building. I tried to like, you need to call the on call person. Then you don hat was always difficult to do. Striking a balance can be di fficult when you are working with students and their difficulties, or when higher level administration expects quick resolution to a problem. Ingrid recall ed situations themse lves but in her feeling compelled to be at work long past a reasonable hour and (Ingrid) I remember we had a very severe hazing case at the school. ly think anybody was on the campus. And I was still putting together notes and files and it was probably because I thought this is ridiculous. Y A nd sorority rush early on my first baby, which was probably the downfall of my first marriage, so that could have added to it. But those are other issues, relationships. How it impacts your family. But I remember spending the night. I was 6 months preg Now does that sound bitter? But I mean, I think that those become, those things become dissatisfiers because none of us got into the job for the money. Nor the attention.
170 kids, you understand and love stud ent development and college age. I love that age group to this day So in one con versation Ingrid identifie d both joy and bitterness about student affairs work and how it may impact your family and relationships. She clarifie d why it wa wa s still, always, work to be done. Perhaps it just becomes a tipping point. Young, mostly single professionals who are drawn into a service related industry are willing to put in long hours, until at some particular point when they are no longer so willin g. Then it becomes time to make a making the decision to leave the student affairs career, will be addressed in the next section. When Did You Know You Wanted t o Leave Your Student Affairs Career? For many participants, leaving their student affairs career was not a conscious decision. Opportunities that allowed for better work/life balance or higher pay frequently enticed women who thought they would return to student affairs at a later date. For many, taking time off to have children led to the choice not to return, or the inability to be rehired when they wanted to return. Two women fall into the latter category, which will be explored below. For some part icipants, a difficult work experience led them to rethink their priorities, such that leaving the field was the right choice at that particular time rather than moving to another job or institution. Some took it as an opportune time to focus on their fami ly. For them, moving on to another student affairs job meant moving from their current home, which they were unwilling or unable to do. Others sought and found jobs that appeared to be more to their benefit, whether financially or for career advancement
171 or both. Some mentioned the lack of forward momentum or career growth as a reason I just kind of felt lik (Elaine) Hattie indicate d, As I started to reflect back on that, a lot of people that I work with who are residence directors were single. kind of branched out of what I was looking for. I think also, student affairs career I think really forces you to move around. essarily going to pay the bills. to really move through the organization or work up in an institution or move up in your career. F or many of the participants, the choice to have chi ldren meant an end to their student affairs career. Whether they took time off to become pregnant or to adopt, or left after doing so, they found that being a mother and working in student affairs simultaneously was extremely difficult and as Alice indic ated, she end ed up would go back to work. And what I quickly realized as I was pregnant trying to do the job, a nd just, I like to be hands on. What I love about student activities is, shirts to the quad, and the next minute this really gr eat professional I But I can only do it if I can do it 100%. And I was pregnant and I did. to work. When I was at work I was thinking about him and when I w as with him, I was thinking about work. And I just, I mean, at the e nd of the pregnancy I How am I gonna do this? I had no idea I would be this smitten with a child. I was just mystified. And the thought of trying to p ut all my attention back on higher ed was just daunting campus so I put him in daycare. I could go see him throughout the day. But oh, I felt like I was doing both jobs really poorly Some participants chose to be a parent and conti nue working in student affairs. That also proved to be difficult, as in
172 I will never forget a traditional male executive gone higher ed person saying to Your ki ds will always be your deficit. Th ose were his exact words. Yet he was one of my strongest mentors. He was not in student affairs. He was one of agree that he said that to me. Bu why I always worked overtime to make sure that people knew that I was no less committed. having children was raised by multiple participants. This concern i s endemic in organizations where time away from work to focus on family or personal life is perceived to be less supportive of the organization. W orkers lower in organizational hierarchies are expected to work as the employer demands, overtime or at odd hours. Such often excessive or unpredictable demands are easier to meet for those without daily family (Acker, 2006, p. 459). this work er is unreasonable and overwhelmingly difficult for working mothers. Some participants chose to leave their careers in order to focus on their families, inten ding to return to their careers later. Unfortunately they found that to be almost impossible as they no longer received interest in their applications and resumes. When I would have had a job w here we moved to before we left I would have ke pt my toe in the water somehow. impossibility since nd granted you know, adopted our daughter and I was going to stay home and I always knew as soon as that do. But then I finally gave up interview. N o t even a callback. out.
173 Still other participants chose to leave their careers because they were disillusioned with their work experiences. Even after searching for a student affairs job for over a year, Gloria indicated having doubts about entering the field. ha I thought that he was really great And I felt very frustrated because I was the worker, and there were a lot of people around me just k ind of floating by on the work. And that happens anywhere, but it wears on you wh And your professional career has literally become your personal lifestyl e. it makes it hard for you to have some down time or some walk away time or to do that. I need to step away. Elaine also commented on feeling the need to leave her career I left because it good at it, it was fun, you thought you for free, then the next level is you like doing it doing it? Indeed, that last line seems to sum up many of the loved the job until it wa s no longer nourishing to them, and then it did not pay them well enough to stay. This will be explored further in the next section. As mentioned previously, some participants did not specifically choose to leave their student affairs careers, although o thers struggled with the decision. Two participants, however, spoke about knowing exactly when the time was right to do so,
174 as Faye mentioned previously in her story which is abbreviated here, It ca career. Where I was working, there was a lot of unprofessionalism I could just see it, the wheels coming off the bus. They I kept thinking this is crazy. And I lost my grandfa the other so we were working at opposite ends of t he earth and we were do we really, really want our But I felt comfortable leaving that job because of the wheels coming off the bus. Ingrid also spoke about knowing when it was time to leave her career and she sought direction from her mentor. You know You know you have to do it A nd I remember going to [vice How do you know He said three things and they were very powerful to me. When yo u can no longer make an impact; w be here; o r [when] But that you just kind of hose are the things tha t you leave behind W ho likes to remember those things? (Ingrid) As Ingrid mentions, there are many reasons one may career, just as there are many reasons to choose it in the first place. Experience teaches us what is important and what is less so. These stories r eflect the choices these women made to begin and then end their careers in student affairs. Some choices were made directly, and others were foisted upon them as a result of situations beyond their control. Some of the women chose to leave their student affairs careers to start a family or for higher salaries for themselves or their husbands, while others left career path in student affairs.
175 This will be explored further in C hapter 5 after concluding thoughts from the participant stories Final Thoughts on Having a Career in Student Affairs stead of making conscious choices to enter or leave them. Rather they fell out of them just as they had fallen in, moving on to focus on themselves and their families. As they grew older, their priorities changed In response to interview question eight about whether she would do anything differently, ntioned this concept in her story about entering graduate school also in response to question nine about doing it all over again She relayed this narrative in her story, ever I decided to go to graduate school, that was what I had to do at that point in time. Just in my life, I help me refocus myself and my life. Donna again mentions a need for change w hen talking about why she thought people leave their student affairs careers as told in her story This story is in response to interview question 10 about anything else she wanted to mention. I think affairs, none of them are in student affairs any more. But I think that it had a lot to do with pay and again, schedules because you know, student affairs field, just things needed to chang e in their lives. When I look back on it now I
176 Donna indicated that everyone in her graduate cohort had decided that they needed something different from what their student affairs career offered them. Presumably they were not all women, yet the issues were the same. Their work schedules were not b urnout of its professionals. Unless student affairs administrators start to make changes to the support systems and resources provided to practitioners, the endless cycle of professionals leaving their careers to be replaced by younger, inexperienced prof essionals will never end. Fortunately, some of those resources are already in place. Many participants referenced the importance of mentors (or lack thereof) to endurance in their student affairs careers. In anymore, Elaine indicated that she would not have stayed in the field as long as she did if she had not had wonderful mentors at her first job There was a real high expectation there and so my first three years in the field, I do In her story Ingrid also spoke of the passion for student affairs instilled in her by her faculty mentors, as well as later support f rom mentors at her workplace Well, probably securing my passion for it was working with one of the great side. The academic side was hearing, you know working with research ers in the (mentor) realm, you know, some of my early professors who really were really had some of early on to help me through those things so I just had great, you never felt alone which is wonderful in our field. I had great support.
177 Even though all of these women chose to leave their careers in student affairs, most remember it quite fondly. Although a few participants doubted they would return for less money than they were currently making, only Elaine indicated that she would change within the field Even then, Elaine spoke of the importance of mentors. back but if I did I would want to do it completely di in hindsight, so academic and when I actually started working in the field we e it. And a lot of it is theories and models and not how really to relate to people. And the job is all a lot of the training is head knowledge. But it might have to be; the re might not be any way to learn it without actually getting in the trenches and doing it. But someone to walk you through it. Many of the participants mentioned the importance of mentors in helping them to navigate difficult situations or turning points within their careers. Research indicates not just as a new professional ( Blackhurst, 200 0; Collins, 2009 ; Fochtman, 2011; Langdon & Gordon, 2007; Renn & Jessup Anger, 2008; Tull, 2003 ). This will be addressed in Chapter 5. A few of the women still feel connected to the field via alumni attachments they retain with their graduate or undergrad uate institutions or through social connections career in student affairs can be, and more than one surmised that low pay might be the
178 only reason they and others left the fie ld. In a sub narrative in response to interview question eight about doing anything differently, Barbara spoke of not really feeling like she had left the field completely. So I fee my mentors and people Facebook friends are higher ed people and I think that, too, makes me feel like I talk about, so and so had a baby and Hattie also spoke of feeling connected, and st ill wanting to use those skills and fulfill the passion that drew her to student affairs in the first place This story is in Hattie indicated, when I left I left and went and did something very similar. I left and went into corporate America doing exactly what I did at colleges and universities. I was in charge of leadership development and developing curriculum and progr ams and leadership experiences. Basically I found in corporate America what I was doing in h I And secondly, I just was disappointed with the career path and the financial compensation. Even if I was doing a good job I was never going to get more than a 3%, so I wa s sunk unless I started moving. So I really had left to try to g et a better negotiating salary. I just never came back because I fell in love with this other. I found studen t affairs in corporate America. m others or not but I feel like I just really lucked out. I got everything I wanted from a passion perspective in that job. And I might have gone back but not after that. (Hattie) Even though the se women chose to leave their careers in student affairs, m ost of the m feel that their experiences were worth their time and effort, and that they learned
179 from them. Most felt that they had done as well as they could have and were happy that they had made a difference. However, Alice also indicated, icult career for would like to have children. It just is. And I think every career is to a certain areer for people who Those are not small issues. These will be discussed in Chapter 5, along with the concern addressed below. M ost of the participants felt that their time in student affairs was positive for the o a student affairs professional [ and a ] student affairs professional as an African Am erican or as a person of color. gravitate t o you because they want to learn from somebody that looks like ignificant difference for us. pressure to give back and to be, you know, on your game all the time because looking to you to be their role mo del whether you like it or not. So there is a bit more pressure from both the students and I think from your supervisors, because they expect regardless there a re higher expectations for you. There is a pressure as an African American in student claiming I am not the spokesperson for Black people.
180 Chapter Sum mary Nine women were interviewed for this study. More than a few had extremely difficult or disappointing experiences during their student affairs careers Some left the field because of those experiences, although others left for personal or family reas ons. Many felt that the financial compensation was not high enough to support a family, if and when one had time to start one. None wanted to ask a trailing spouse to give up what would probably be a better paying job in order to move locations for upwar d mobility within their student affairs careers A few who left to have children thought that they would be able to return later However, they found that to be almost impossible. Having difficulty returning to a job where one has experience and expertis e seems unintuitive to me Perhaps hiring committees are looking for new er professionals whom they can pay less, rather than someone with a few years of experience. This will be explored further in C hapter 6. A few of the women gave wonderful reflections of their student affairs careers also gave equally passionate reasons for leaving the field as Elaine exemplified below. is why the hell are you doing it? signs for knowing when it is tim e to leave student affairs and move on to something else. Indeed, they could be reasons for changing any job or career, but they seem especially poignant for those attracted to the service related functions of student affairs onger make an
181 of th e se categories. Some left for more opportunity elsew here; some left because they were feeling overly stressed with the work or with trying to balance work with family, and many no longer felt that they were making a difference. In C hapter 5 I will discuss these results further. Then in C hapter 6 I will co nclude with recommendations for student affairs administrators and practitioners for new professionals and graduate preparation programs, and for further research. I conclude this chapter with one final quote about working in student affairs from Faye. It is such a rewarding career. You can influence lives and you can learn so much from these people that are going through a metamorphosis at such a pivotal time in their life. I am watching my stepson do it. He just fi nished his first year. I am freshman ct with this age
182 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION OF THE RESULTS This dissertation seeks to expand understanding of why some women have chosen to leave their previously chosen careers in higher education student affairs. This chapter includes a review of the research purpose and a brief discussion of findings regarding reasons these women chose to enter their careers in student affairs, followed by findings on the reasons given by participants of why they chose to leave said careers. In C hapter 6 I will discuss implications for student affairs administration and staff, for graduate preparation programs, for student affairs professional associations, and for future research. The purpose of this study wa s to examine the experiences of women former student affairs professionals when deciding to leave their chosen careers, in order to get a better understanding of their career decision s In attempts to appreciate their experiences, nine women were interviewed regarding their career path choic es to enter and then leave the student affairs field The data was analyzed through narrative e (Labov & Waletzky, 1967; Labov, 1972). Based on the analysis of participant narratives, their stories support ed or added new perspectives to the extant literature on student affairs staff j ob satisfaction and education Major insights from the study are combined into the three follo wing sections: reasons these women entered careers in student affairs, reasons these women chose to leave their careers in student affairs, and unanswered questions
183 Reasons These Women Chose to Enter Careers in Student Affairs Extant literature on student affairs careers indicates that student affairs professionals tend to enter a graduate preparation program after being involved in leadership positions as undergraduate students, and typically after someone currently in the profession recommends it to them (Hunter, 1992; Taub & McEwen, 2006). That is consistent with findings from this study. Typical participant response to the interview participants indicated that someone suggested the career to them or they inquired about it of someone currently working in an administrative role in student affairs, or both. The notion of helping imp act the lives of other students as theirs had been impacted was an important reason these women mentioned for choosing student affairs as a career. More than one participant mentioned having a passion for the work and for it being a fulfilling calling, wi th one indicating that in graduate school you think the field This is in keeping with extant literature on why professionals Perhaps this exalt ed purpose or fervor for the field is one reason why these women were so disappointed later when it did not turn out to be what they expected. When Gloria was unable to get a job in the field after graduation, after sending out multiple applications, the participant indicated that they would return to the field if the salary was right. Another highlight of working in student affairs, frequently mentioned as an example of their most satisfyin g moments in their careers, is seeing students grow and develop. Almost all of the participants mentioned specific examples of working with
184 moments, where the women knew that (the students) originally thought they could be. This could point back to the powerful and positive experiences these women had as students themselves which led them into the field. In any case, this type of e xperience with students, and building relationships Other highlights included feeling that one had filled a need, either for students or for others in the field, and real the opportunity to see your hard work come to fruition when students come back later to thank you, were paramount for these former student affairs professionals Indeed many participants expresse d that they still felt connected to their student affairs roots through social networking and alumni connections to former students and coworkers. Thus these women were able to reflect on the positive memories, and many expressed sadness that their career s had ended or that they had been unable to renew them after having children. The greatest insight I gained from participants regarding the tipping point in their careers when they chose to leave student affairs, came from Elaine who mentioned a conversati on she had immediately prior to leaving the field. Her vice president at the time pinpointed the issue directly and succinctly: You were good at it ; people even told you you were good at it ; it was fun ; you So at some point the career no longer gives more than it takes, as responsibilities and long hours overcome passion and personal fulfillment. As Elaine pointed ou t later in the
185 detriments to personal life and family. This leads us directly to the reasons these women gave for leaving their student affairs careers. Reasons These Women Chose to Leave Their Student Affairs Careers Every participant in this study mentioned long work hours being an issue for them, and almost all mentioned it in relation to conflict between work and personal responsibilities. This supports extant res earch literature on women in student affairs expressing stress in dealing with role conflict between the roles of employee and wife and/or mother ( Marshall, Hughes, Lowery, & Moore, 2006; Anderson, 1998; Berwick, 1992; Scott, 1992 ). It should be noted tha t all respondents worked in areas of student and student activities. However, many of these women mentioned that they felt like ne could call them at home at all hours for work related issues. Alice indicated: Student affairs is at bare minimum an 18 realistica lly get called. It is also important to note that some of these women left when they would have been considered new professionals, within their first 3 years on the job. Frequently entry level positions in student affairs tend to be the ones with longer hours, especially in residence life and student activities where most of these participants worked. However, many did not see the hours improving along with advancement. More importantly, many did not see advancement as possible without relocating their families, which they were not willing to do. Those participants who were married frequently had spouses whose jobs paid more, so moving for advancement in their student affairs research
186 of Gutek and Larwood For three respondents (Carrie, Hattie, Ingrid), money was specifically mention ed as a major reason they left the field. Three others (Alice, Donna, Elaine) also mentioned it as a reason for leaving the field, though not their primary reason. Barbara reported doubling her former student affairs salary within two years at a governme nt job, after she failed to find work in student affairs subsequent to taking time off to have children. This made low pay the second most salient reason these women left their ng out, After working in student affairs and prior to leaving higher education altogether, Ingrid worked in academic affairs for awhile. She indicates that student affairs salaries Clearly salaries were shows that women are still paid less than men in higher education when controlling for othe r variables such as career age, rank, discipline, and institutional type ( Perna, 2001). Even lower salaries in student affairs areas compound the problem. As Elaine stated, next is why the hell are you doing it? Another issue brought up by more than one participant was that of family friendly work policies. Alice mentioned surprise at the lack of flexibility in work hours given the high number of women in the profession. In a story about taking a sabbatical in order to work on her doctorate, Ingrid recalls utilizing a Human Resources policy that allowed for
187 take doctoral classes. Unfortunately the policy only she found a retired dean of stu dents willing to do her work in her absence. She stated: So they finally agreed when they found out who it was that would do it. I remember it was wild because I was like a single mom with two little kids. So here was an ostensibly positive work policy through affirmative action that allow ed for women to take a leave of absence, yet did not cover their positions while they were gone. Unfortunately, some research has shown that family friendly work policies may actually prove to be detrimental to women employees by increasing gender inequal ity in organizations (Glass, 2004). This may be particularly true in organizations are stronger in competition for advancement (Glass, p. 371). Such measures may re inforce, not undermine, the male model of organizing by defining those who conform to it as serious, committed workers The implication is that those who do not conform are not committed to the work (Acker, 2006). Another issue rais ed by many participants was that of poor supervision or poor fit felt was unethical or improper. Others felt that their supervisors or higher administration did not pay attention when they voiced concern over a particular situation or when they were overwhelmed filling in for open staff positions. Extant literature on student affairs y to their intention to leave the field (Tull, 2006) and that institutional fit is also important
188 (Renn & Hodges, 2007). This is not saying that unethical behavior in necessarily an institutional culture but certainly administrative behaviors can affect d epartmental climate, if not divisional or institutional. Hierarchical, gendered organizations such as higher education institutions can be difficult places to redress issues with supervisors or upper administration where power inequalities create barriers (Acker, 2006). As Barbara indicated regarding her job in terview at the college she eventually resigned and not taken that particular job. So long hours, low salaries, and poor supervision or bad institutional fit were all salient in these wom consistent with literature in the field regarding job satisfaction (Anderson, Guido DiBrito & Morell, 2000; Bender, 1980; Blackhurst, 2000; Cook, 2006; Hirt, 2006; Kuk & Donovan, 2004), lack of clear paths to advancement (Sandeen & Barr, 2006) and intent vice president gave her important advice when she wondered if she was right for student affairs work. All three of those items pe rtained to many of the women in this study. The next section will address issues that only one or two participants mentioned but which seemed important nonetheless. Unanswered Questions There were several comments made by one or two participants that seem ed intriguing enough to warrant further investigation in future studies. The first that comes
189 d to be more desperate than the other participants and she admittedly was depressed when she was having some of her work difficulties. But I think it is more than that. Elaine worked at two different jobs at two different job. Not only did they not live up to her magical beginning, they were a far cry from agreeable. In one job her supervisor ignored and overlooked her and in the other she was overworked filling in for an open staff position. It i s easy to see why she feels that the culture is not nourishing, but I think it is gradua Perhaps the disconnect l ies in the reality of work in hierarchical, gendered organizations where work/life balance and dual roles of employee and family member are inconsistent with institutional policy (Acker, 2006) I wonder if there is more to the story, literally, than just experiences. Maybe she is on to something. If this field attra cts idealistic young individuals and perpetuates a rosy perspective in graduate school, then it is logical that s (to say nothing of poor fits or nonexistent supervision) might severely disappoint. Is Elaine attributing her difficult experiences to the culture of the field when other participants seemed to attribute theirs
190 to individuals or institutions? I think s he is hinting at a larger issue within the field and within higher education in general where institutional policies and work expectations do not match the desires and expectations of women, and increasingly men, to be both professionals/practitioners and family members. This is another area that needs to be explored further. Another issue brought up by one participant was that of student affairs professionals of color being cast into the role of role model for students of color, whether they wanted to be or not. This issue is not new to higher education as it has been addressed in literature on faculty of color (Park, 1996; Ponjuan, 2005 ; Rosser, 2004; Stanley, 2006; Turner, 2002). The same concerns apply here as well. Serving on committees and advising students of color because you are one of the few administrators of color can be an overwhelming burden added onto an already potentially arduous job. While this concern is not new, it was an important element that Another issue, mentioned by two different participants, is the matter of graduate student women not planning on staying in their student affairs careers long term. Barbara and Gloria both mentioned wanting to remain in student affairs only until they reached middle management, as both saw upper administration as not to their liking. Lack of student interaction, lo ng work hours, and the requirement of making decisions negative aspects of advancement in student affairs. In a 2000 study of women in student affairs, Blackhurst found that 45% of her respondents planned to stay in student affairs for their entire careers. Apparently 55% did not. Additional studies need to be
191 done to determine if women (and men) in student affairs are entering the field not planning to stay for their e ntire careers, or if something along the way changes their minds. Retaining talented staff members depends on fulfilling their career goals, and that will be difficult to do if we do not understand those goals to begin with. For many participants of this study, having a family was an early priority that they struggled with while working long hours as graduate students and young professionals. For some, it was the reason they chose not to remain in their student affairs careers. This struggle of balancing family with career is one reason why participants in a recent study indicated that they chose to remain in mid level student affairs careers rather than advancing to vice president (Collins, 2009). For many women, having a family while having a student a ffairs career remains a difficult balance to try to maintain ( Marshall, 2009; Nobbe & Manning 1997). As Collins points out, higher education is a gendered should not go unre cognized (2009, p. 114). Until we recognize the implicit gendered tunities for greater life balance within the field will likely not be prioritized. Un til they are prioritized, they may never become reality. While advancement to high levels of administration may not necessarily be these ongoing pr ofessional challenges raise additional questions about setting up young professionals for disappointment. Barbara indicated that her time in student affairs was not wasted as her skills were highly transferable. Is that the return on investment for these women, transferable skills? Is it sufficient?
192 Perhaps that is a question each person must answer for themselves, but it is surely not the direction these participants thought their careers would take. Perhaps they had not thought about their careers be yond entry level positions. Research indicates that in graduate preparation programs or at professional conferences (Renn & Hughes, 2004, p. 179). Perhaps both sh ould stress career planning more heavily. Perhaps graduate programs and professional associations should also stress the realities of gendered institutional policies within student affairs and higher education and should work to change the culture to be m ore realistic for non single, male workers (Acker, 2006). Finally, several women mentioned being unable to return to the field after taking time off to have children. This is also not new to the literature but it was a shock to have more than one particip ant say that they received no feedback whatsoever from hiring officials. Marshall (2009) and Nobbe and Manning (1997) found that women in the field with children have additional stressors and role conflict. That is certainly not a surprise. There should be great concern within the field when three participants were unable to return to work they loved and in which they were trained and experienced, and when two received little or no feedback from multiple job applications. Out of nine participants in thi s study, three could not get rehired. The other participants with children have not tried to return but I wonder if they would have the same difficulty. Is it a financial goal to hire someone straight out of graduate school as less expensive than hiring someone with experience? Surely not all of the jobs these women applied for were entry level. Even if they were, the women were not even
193 contacted for a phone interview. Is there a pervasive perception in the field that women with time gaps in their re sumes are not worth re employing? Do we assume that we cannot afford them so we do not even contact them? What is this and where does it come from? More importantly, how do we change it? ective (Yakaboski & Donahoo, 2011). If hiring officials assume that time away from the job makes one less committed, then they are working under the fallacy that individuals dissimilar to themselves (i.e. experienced women professionals who took time off from work to have children) are less worthy of hiring than someone with little or no job experience (i.e. new professionals). T his gendered perspective must be recognized and looked at critically to reframe the organizational environment into one that fit s all of the people working within it, rather than continuing to force women and people of color Student affairs professionals and the American higher education system withi n which they work are constrained by policies developed by and for male administrators prior to women joining the workforce. It is time for these policies to change. G endered institutions no longer work for employees, women and men both, who want to have time with their families outside of work (Glazer, 2000). Multiple participant s in this study told of situations where they were discounted, overlooked, overworked, underpaid, and expected to do things they were not comfortable with. These are not insignificant concerns but rather aftershocks of a system where inequity builds inadeq uate oversight at best and authoritarian misuse of power at worst. It is no wonder that these women chose to leave their student affairs careers for better lives elsewhere.
194 As more and more new professionals enter careers in student affairs expecting and demanding to have lives outside of the workplace, either the antiquated policies must change or professionals will continue to choose to leave their student affairs careers. In the postmodern world, feminist perspectives demand that institutions change to meet the needs of their constituents, rather than the other way around. Something has to change, and it is for the betterment of the student affairs profession that the institutional policies that prevent work/life balance are changed rather than continu al career turnover of practitioners unsatisfied to work within those policies Chapter Summary Many is sues mentioned by women in this study mirror those found in extant literature on student affairs staff and women in higher education. In that regard, fin dings from this study were not surprising. Long work hours and low pay make leaving student affairs careers enticing as greener pastures seem to be else where Institutional fit and supervision are important matters for new professionals in student affair s, and less than in advising individual students and student groups. Work/life balance is difficult to achieve. As with women faculty in higher education all of these issues are relevant to either choose work settings other than academe or leave acade me after only a few However, findings that are not surprising do not equate to findings that are unimportant. Stories of participant experiences highlighted some wonderful high point s about working in student affairs, such as giving back to higher education and helping
195 students to see themselves as more than they thought they could be. Other narratives ed and had been taught in their graduate programs. All of the participants had suggestions for making the career field better for women who might follow them. These will be addressed in C hapter 6
196 CHAPTER 6 RECOMMENDATIONS As mentioned previously, there are many possible areas of improvement that need to be addressed regarding issues brought to light in this study. Some are systemic and require a culture change in higher education (i.e. recognition of gendered institutional culture that does not allow for support of family friendly work policies) whereas others can be implemented at the departmental level within student affairs divisions. Also, this exploratory study raised more questions than it answered, so areas for futu re research will also be explored below. Implications for Student Affairs Staff and Administration Given the large proportion of women student affairs professionals, their career concerns need to addressed if the field is to advance. This study raises sev eral concerns held by the participants that encouraged their choices to leave their student affairs careers. Therefore, several recommendations are made below regarding areas of concern to the former student affairs professionals in this study. 1) Superviso rs in student affairs need to be trained how to be good supervisors ( Ignelzi & Whitely, 2004 ; Stock Ward & Javorek, 2003; Tull, 2006). While some of these women were in institutions where the culture and/or department did not match their values and expect ations, others were simply ignored or overlooked. More than one had difficulty filling in for open staff positions, and higher administration did not seem to realize that they were overworked and overwhelmed. Perhaps conversations were had regarding prio ritizing work to be done or perhaps their administrators thought everything was important and nothing could go undone. However, neither
197 participant who related stories on this topic indicated that they were assisted in prioritizing their work. Expecting staff members to do more than one working conditions. 2) Part of good supervision should be checking in with staff frequently to make sure they are not feeling overwhelmed trying t o balance work and home responsibilities and struggling daily to get to work, and no one seemed to notice that she was not putting in her time. Supervisors, coworkers, support staff, no one said anythi ng to her about what she worried was obvious. Perhaps she hid it so well that no one truly was able to notice. However, this particular job was for a supervisor that she indicated earlier had overlooked her for professional development opportunities in f avor of a coworker. Perhaps she was being overlooked in more ways than one. In any regard, health issues for women student affairs professionals have been noted in the literature (Spurlock, 2009), with burnout frequently being mentioned as a reason for i ntent to leave (Blackhurst, 2000). 3) Hiring officials should ensure that all job applicants receive feedback Two participants in this study received one response letter, collectively, from over dozens of job applications they had submitted. This is unac ceptable and adds to the perception that these professionals are unimportant and unworthy of response. Why would anyone want to stay in a profession that sends that message?
198 4) Student affairs administrators need to be prepared to act as mentors to newer pr ofessionals or to help and encourage them to find mentors for themselves Although none of these participants indicated that they expected their supervisors to mentor them, as was indicated in a study on new professionals by Renn & Hodges (2007), all of these women mentioned having mentors and the importance they played in their work lives. Numerous research findings point to the importance of mentors for new student affairs professionals and for women in student affairs (Blackhurs t, 2000; Collins, 2009 ; Fochtman, 2011; Langdon & Gordon, 2007; Renn & Jessup Anger, 2008; Tull, 2003 ). Recent research on women in student affairs indicates that change during career shifts (Fochtman, 2011). This follows with findings from the current study. Graduate preparation programs should encourage graduate students to develop mentors early on, in order to help them transition into the field (Renn & Hodges, 2007; Sandeen & Barr, 2006; Tull, 2006). Other suggestions for graduate preparation programs are discussed next. Implications for Graduate Preparation Programs Graduate preparation programs need to help future student affairs professionals get a realistic understandin g of workplace policies and institutional cultures that may await them. While most participants indicated that they felt they were fully prepared for student affairs work, a few were surprised by the level of bureaucracy they were met with. Occasionally the need for more budgetary experience was expressed. Therefore, here are several recommendations for graduate prepar ation programs
199 1) While no amount of graduate training can prepare one for working at an institution where one is asked to behave unethicall y, perhaps lengthy discussions of the existence and realities of such cultures can help graduate students be more aware of this when interviewing for jobs Renn and Jessup Anger found that many new professionals indicate that their graduate programs stres sed knowledge attainment over application (2008). Helping graduate students to connect theory to practice is imperative for them to be successful in their work lives, especially if their supervisors turn out to be less than supportive. 2) Helping students f ind and develop mentoring relationships is also important for graduate programs Research indicates that some new professionals expected their supervisors to mentor them and were disappointed when this turned out not to be the case (Renn & Hodges, 2007). Several participants mentioned having multiple mentors, which helped them when dealing with different types of situations. Cultivating various relationships to help one through difficult work situations is a skill that should be initiated in graduate pro grams. 3) Frank discussion regarding institutional culture and low entry level salaries needs to take place during graduate preparation It is unethical to teach graduate students about student development theory and practical applications of working within the student affairs field without also preparing them for the gendered institutional climate, including incredibly low entry level salaries, that awaits them. While no one can truly understand a career until
200 they are in it, current working conditions are not adequately expressed in graduate training or from professional associations (Renn & Hughes, 2004 ). This must change in order for new professionals to make informed career decisions. 4) Finally, one participant mentioned the need for additional counseling classes during graduate training Since some higher education graduate programs are housed within counselor education departments and others are not, this is a recommendation that should be explored further. Elaine indicated that she had taken three cou nseling courses as part of her graduate Implications for Professional Associations Many of the issues raised by participants should be address ed by student affairs professional associations. Research indicates that these associations tend to do well in helping student affairs staff and graduate faculty focus on professional development but could do better in focusing on the bigger picture needs of higher education (Sandeen & Barr, 2006). Therefore recommendations for student affairs professional associations are made next. 1) Frank discussions of alternate career paths and attrition in the field should be part of the conversation at professional c onferences (Renn & Hughes, 2004). Just as conversations need to be held in graduate programs is topic should also be addressed at professional conferences. Since funding for higher education is not lik ely to increase any time soon, low entry level salaries should also be
201 discussed. Intangible benefits or other resources that can offset low salaries, such as reasonable work hour expectations, should be recognized and encouraged. 2) If reframing higher educ ation from a male hierarchical structure to a more open, gender and race conscious environment is to happen, perhaps it can start with our professional associations These associations already play a role in promoting college student issues and in encoura ging student affairs professionals to mentor new professionals and graduate students (Collins, 2009). Perhaps the next step is promoting students to graduate students, and from fac ulty to student affairs staff Developing a stronger commitment to gender and race/ethnicity policies that reflect changing demographics of our incoming professionals would be a major step in advocating for updated higher education policies. Student affa irs professional associations are at a strategic advantage in being able to address gendered institutional policies that hinder work/life balance for student affairs practitioners and, indeed, for higher education professionals. Policy recommendations are their forte, and working to change higher education culture to be more conducive to equitable work expectations should be a primary goal. Future Research Finally, there are several areas of future research highlighted by insights from this study. These r ecommendations are made below.
202 1) More longitudinal studies following graduate students through their first years in student affairs until mid career How many cohorts are losing all cohort, and is that atypical? Previous research on attrition in student affairs found some cohorts losing 90% of women and 60% of men graduates from the field within seven years (Holmes, Verrier & Chisholm, 1983). We need more recent studies following g raduates through their early student affairs careers. 2) M ore qualitative studies of graduates are needed to explore their advancement concerns in order to better identify and articulate specific issues Similar to the present study, men and more women, in cluding men and women of color, who no longer work in student affairs need to be interviewed to investigate why they chose to leave the field. 3) roles and role conflict Research on role conflict in women indicates that when work policies are not conducive to work and home life balance, home duties prevail (Fassinger, 2005). Research also shows that women in higher education and student affairs report higher stress levels than men and eve n health issues (Anderson, 1998; Davidson, 2009; Spurlock, 2009). Higher 2006, p. 459) as the role model for success and advancement will continue to plague women, and in some cases ma rried men, who attempt to move ahead while balancing personal and family needs. If higher education organizations in general, and student affairs divisions in particular, truly wish to utilize and
203 successfully keep highly trained and skilled women employe es, then family friendly work policies and pay parity must be implemented 4) Future research should focus on self efficacy to determine if it applies for women in student affairs. This study focused on identifying role conflict and job satisfaction issues t careers in student affairs. Less apparent is the issue of self efficacy, as 1997; Betz & Fitzgerald, 1987). Betz and Fitzgeral d indicate that some women may feel unable to do their jobs when family obligations compete with wome n were all highly educated and presumably self motivated to attend graduate school, perhaps self efficacy was not an issue for them. Perhaps the interview questions were not worded in a way to accurately identify self efficacy issues if they existed for t hese women. More women are attending college than ever before ( NCES 2011 ), and more women are working in higher education than ever before ( Nidiffer & Bashaw, 2001; Turrentine & Conley, 2001; Walker, Reason & Robinson, 2003 ). Yet we still do not the student affairs profession. This study illuminates issues some women former student affairs professionals had that led them to choose leaving the ir careers in student affairs. More needs to be learned and much apparently needs to change within higher education in order for more women to choose to remain in their student affairs careers.
204 APPENDIX A IRB PROTOCOL FOR PIL OT STUDY UFIRB 02 Social & Behavioral Research Protocol Submission Title of Protocol: Student Affairs professionals: Choices made in decision to stay in or leave the career Principal Investigator: Laura Waltrip UFID #: Degree / Title: Research Assistant/PhD student Department: Educational Administration & Policy Mailing Address: P.O. Box 117049 1215 Norman Hall UF College of Education Gainesville, FL 32611 7049 Email Address & Telephone Number: firstname.lastname@example.org Co Investigator(s): UFID#: Supervisor: Dr. Mirka Koro Ljungberg UFID#: Degree / Title: Associate Professor Department: Educational Psychology Mailing Address: UF College of Education P.O. Box 117047 258D Norman Hall Email Address & Telephone Number: email@example.com Date of Proposed Research: 04/01/09 03/03/10 Source of Funding (A copy of the grant proposal must be submitted with this protocol if fund ing is involved): None Scientific Purpose of the Study: looking at the choices they make when determining to remain in the field or to leave. Describe the Research Methodology in Non Technical Language: ( Explain what will be done with or to the research participant. ) Interview four participants, two adults who currently work at UF and two adults who formerly worked at the University of Central Florida, each during a 1 hour semi structured interview. Interviews will be recorded and transcribed. See interview guide attached. This project is part of a class assignment (Qualitative Data Analysis).
20 5 Describe Potential Benefits and Anticipated Risks: ( If risk of physical, psychological or economic harm may be involved, describe the steps taken to protect participant.) aking process by looking at the choices they make when determining to remain in the field or to leave. It can promote discussions related to job satisfaction, work/life balance, and potential burnout in the field of college Student Affairs. No more than mi nimum risks are anticipated. Describe How Participant(s) Will Be Recruited, the Number and AGE of the Participants, and Proposed Compensation: Current full peer gro up of Student Affairs staff and former staff using criterion sampling. Participants have to be over 21 years old. No compensation will be given. Describe the Informed Consent Process. Include a Copy of the Informed Consent Document: An informed consent form will be provided to participants prior to the interview process. Participation is completely voluntary. Principal Investigator(s) Signature: Supervisor Signature: Department Chair/Center Director Signature: Date:
206 APPENDIX B INTERVIEW PROTOCOL F OR PILOT STUDY Protocol Questions for former Student Affairs professionals : 1) How do you feel about your current job? 2) How do you feel you are making an impact? 3) Is there a match between your current work and your career goals? 4) Describe your career path in student affairs and your decision making process along the way. 5) Describe the factors that led to your decision to leave student affairs as a career field. 6) Compare your perception of working in student affairs when you were a graduate student with the reality of your experience as a professional. 7) Were there obligations or stressors that competed for your time and attention during your time in student affairs (i.e. competing priorities)? 8) Looking back on your career decisions, would you do anything differently?
207 APPENDIX C IRB PROTOCOL FOR DIS SERTATION STUDY UFIRB 02 Social & Behavioral Research Protocol Submission Form This form must be typed. Send this form and the supporting documents to IRB02, PO Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611. Should you have questions about completing this form, call 352 392 0433. Title of Protocol: Voices from the Field : S tories of W omen W ho C hose to L eave T heir Careers as S tudent A ffairs P rofessionals Principal Investigator: Laura Waltrip UFID #: Degree / Title: PhD Student/Research Assistant Mailing Address: ( If on campus include PO Box address ): P.O. Box 117049, Gainesville, Fl, 32611 7049 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Department: Educational Administration & Policy Telephone #: Co Investigator(s): UFID#: Email: Supervisor (If PI is student) : Dr. Luis Ponjuan UFID# : Degree / Title: Assistant Professor Mailing Address: ( If on campus include PO Box address ): P.O. Box 117049, Gainesville, Fl, 32611 7049 Email : email@example.com Department: Educational Administration & Policy Telephone #: Date of Proposed Research: March, 15, 2011 through March 15, 2012 Source of Funding (A copy of the grant proposal must be submitted with this protocol if funding is involved): None Scientific Purpose of the Study: The goal of this study is to explore the career turnover experiences of women former student affairs professionals to determine why they left their chosen careers.
208 Describe the Research Methodology in Non Technical Language: ( Explain what will be done with or to the research participant. ) Five to seven women participants over age 25 will be interviewed using semi structured, in person interviews. If necessary, phone interviews will be used as follow up for clarification of points made in initial interviews. The personal interviews will last approximately 90 minutes in duratio n. Participants will also be asked to provide a copy of their current resume for the purpose of job history information. These interviews will begin with a generic question related to decision to pursue a career in higher education student affairs and will evolve depending on issues introduced by the participants. The professional position(s), as well as any conflicts with non work roles related to family or community. Also, questions will be asked about their self efficacy to do the job(s) and the experiences that led to the decision to leave their chosen career in higher education student affairs. will be transcribed for analysis by the principal investigator using qualitative methodologies of narrative analysis Results will be written i n a dissertation research format and will later be used for research article publications and for purposes of conference participation and publications. Describe Potential Benefits: The results of the project will provide insight to university officials regarding the experiences of this subset of professional staff at the university. This is important, as higher education student affairs staff turnover has been estimated to be up to 60% within 6 years after graduation from a graduate preparation program. These findings may be later used to gain a more in depth understanding of the student affairs staff work experience and what led to women choosing to leave their chosen student affairs careers and as such offer considerations for future attention by the h igher education community. Describe Potential Risks: ( If risk of physical, psychological or economic harm may be involved, describe the steps taken to protect participant.) It is perceived that is there is no more than minimal risk to participants. Partic reported in a combination grand narrative so that individual experiences are not published. If participants describe experiences that they do not want shared in resulting publications or presentations, those experiences will be career. Describe How Participant(s) Will Be Recruited : Participants will be recruited via criterion sampling by sending study information and protocol to potential key informants Said key informants will be current vice presidents of student affairs, directors of student affairs division departments, or student affairs graduate preparation program faculty at public or private four year, not for profit higher education i nstitutions in the southeastern United States. Key informants will be asked to forward the study information to potential participants who meet the study requirements of being females who worked in student affairs at said institutions and departed their s tudent affairs careers within six years after graduation from a student affairs graduate preparation masters program. Potential participants will be asked to contact the principal investigator if interested in being interviewed. No compensation will be p rovided. Maximum Number of Participants (to be approached with consent) 9 Age Range of Participants: 25 55 Amount of Compensation/ course credit: None
209 Describe the Informed Consent Process. (Attach a Copy of the Informed Consent Document See http://irb.ufl.edu/irb02/samples.html for examples of consent.) Once potential participants have contacted the primary investigator, the attached Informed Consent Document will be mailed to them for approva interview protocol questions. Once signed consent forms are returned to the investigator, the interviews be audio recorded will be recorded prior to the interview starting. (SIGNATURE SECTION) Principal Investigator(s) Signature: Date: Co Investigator(s) Signature(s): Date: student): Date: Department Chair Signature: Date:
210 APPENDIX D INTERVIEW PROTOCOL F OR DISSERTATION STUD Y Protocol Questions for former Student Affairs professionals RQ: Why do women former Student Affairs professionals choose to leave their initially chosen career field? I am interested in learning about the experience of starting a career in student affairs and then leaving the field. You are the expert here and I want to learn about your story. I may ask a few questions for clarification but otherwise I leave it to you to determine what to tell me. 1) What sparked your interest in a career in student affairs? 2) Can you remember a particular time or a work experience that exemplifies when you were most satisfied with working in student affairs? 3) Can you remember a pa rticular time or a work experience that exemplifies when you were least satisfied with working in student affairs? 4) Can you remember a particular time or experience where you felt unprepared to do your job? 5) Tell me about when you knew you wanted to leave your student affairs career, rather than just your position at that institution. 6) Can you remember a particular time when non work responsibilities conflicted with work responsibilities? How did you deal with that? 7) Compare your perception of working in student affairs when you were a graduate student with the reality of your experience as a professional. 8) Looking back on your career decisions, talk about anything you would do differently if you had the chance to do it all again. 9) Is there anything you thought I would ask you that I did not? 10) Is there anything else that you would like to share that we did not cover?
211 APPENDIX E EMAIL RECRUITMENT SC RIPT FOR KEY INFORMA NTS Hello, My name is Laura Waltrip a doctoral student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. I am currently working on my dissertation and am looking for participants for my research. I am hoping you can forward this information to women you know who fit the criteria of the study If they are interested, they can then contact me. The purpose of my qualitative study is to examine the stories of women who previously worked in Student Affairs and then chose to leave the profession I am looking for 9 participants who meet certain criteria based on gender, time in the field, and geographic location as I will be traveling to interview them in person. Specifically I am seeking women who worked in Student Affairs positions in the Southeastern United States (or who currently li ve in the Southeastern United States) and who left their careers in higher education within 6 years of graduating I am not looking for participants who remained in higher education by moving t o jobs elsewhere in the collegiate setting or went back to school for another degree. I seek to interview women who chose Student Affairs as a career field, worked in the field, and then chose to leave it within 6 years. Selected participants in this stud y will take part in a semi structured, audio taped interview that should last approximately 90 120 minutes. The interview will consist of questions that will elicit stories about their student affairs work experiences. In conjunction with the interview, ea ch participant will be asked to share her most recent resume. Please have any interested participants email me at lwaltrip@uf l.edu so that I may follow up with the consent form, research purpose and interview questions, and to schedule an interview. This study has been approved by the University of Florida Institutional Review Board, IRB #2011 U 0316. Any information gathered t hroughout the study will be kept in the strictest confidence. Please forward this to potential participants rather than responding to me with contact information. If you do not know anyone who fits the parameters of this study, please forward this email to someone you think might be of assistance in identifying potential participants. Thank you for your time and consideration. Laura Waltrip Doctoral Candidate, University of Florida firstname.lastname@example.org
212 APPENDIX F EMAIL RESPONSE TO PO TENTIAL PARTICIPANTS De ar (participant), Thank you for expressing interest in being interviewed for my study of women former student affairs professionals I am interviewing women who worked in student affairs and then left their careers within 6 years for something outside of higher education. I have attached the consent form, which will need to be signed prior to the interview. I will bring the original, stamped copy with me so this is only for your information about the study. I have also attached the interview questions. Once you read over these, if you're still interested we can finalize a date. Since some topics may be somewhat sensitive, I will come to you to meet with you in person rather than over the phone. Just email back to let me know if you are still interested and I will schedule the interview at a time and place of your convenience. Thank you, Laura Waltrip Doctoral Candidate, University of Florida email@example.com
213 APPENDIX G INFORMED CONSENT FOR DISSERTATION STUDY Protocol Title: Voices from the Field: Stories of Women Who Chose to Leave their Careers as Student Affairs Professionals Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this study is to examine the stor ies of women who chose to leave their student affairs careers within 6 years after graduating from a student affairs graduate preparation masters program. What you will be asked to do in the study: You will be asked to allow a graduate student to complete one personal interview with you, lasting approximately 90 minutes at a time and place of your choosing. The student interviewer will ask you general questions about your student affairs career and experiences that led to you choosing to leave that career You will also be asked to provide a copy of your resume to show job history/length of employment at higher education institutions. Risks and Benefits: We do not perceive that there will be more than minimal risk associated with participation in this study and do not anticipate that you will benefit directly by participating in this study. There is no paid compensation for participating in this research. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your interview will be audio taped and transcribed by the graduate student completing the interview. Your name will NOT appear in the transcript, nor will the name s of your institution(s) or colleagues. When the study is completed and data have been analyzed, the list of participants and all interview data will be destroyed. The final results may be presented in a written study for dissertation purposes and for pr esentation at professional conference and/or submission to educational journals for possible publication. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating or for refusing to answer any question. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Laura Waltrip, Educational Administration and Policy, Norman Ha ll, P.O. Box 117049, Gainesville, FL 32611 7049, firstname.lastname@example.org Luis Ponjuan Ph.D., Educational Administration and Policy, Norman Hall, P.O. Box 117049, Gainesville, F L 32611 7049 email@example.com Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: IRB02 Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 2250; phone 352 392 0433. Agreement: I have rea d the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Participant: ___________________________________________ Date: _________________ Principal Investigator: ________________ ___________________ Date: _________________
214 APPENDIX H PARTICIPANT NARRATIV E TABLE Participant 8 Hattie Story Name Structure Structure Summary Narrative Summary Notes/Why Important Decision to go to graduate school for career in student affairs Abstract Orientation Complicating Action Result Evaluation Result Evaluation A O I was a student newspaper editor; I was the sorority recruitment director. So I was involved in a lot of different things on campus, highly active, highly engaged in residence life and student activities and athletics and just everything. And kind of towa rd the end of my college career I had kind of thought about doing a career in politics because I was really CA turned nasty. And I really got turned residence director at the time because I was an RA, and just really expressing what I do? And I said well, I R E working with people like myself on campus, people that are highly involved and R E my experi undergrad; wanted a career where she could help people. While she was an RA her residence director suggested think I could really enjoy watchi ng people grow and develop and help Like many others, this participant chose student affairs as a career field after being very involved in undergraduate student life and after having it suggested to her as a career. Choosing student affairs as a career (the first job) Orientation Complicating Action Result Evaluation O CA R E arts schools so I kind of knew that that was about, very small. Did the grad school working in education experience at a very large public school. So what would really kind of d iversify me? And I really think community colleges Nothing has been given to many of the students I was working with there and really loved them because usually my people that a Applied for jobs at different institutions up at a community very different to help those students so I thought it was She purposefully looked for a job at an institution different than she was familiar with and found comm.. college work to be rewarding. This is not a route many take in St affairs.
215 caregiver to a parent, maybe taking care of younger siblings, putting themselves through school, and doing it all. And that student, compared to your 18 19 year old freshman who is more concerned about party, drinking, having fun, n ot getting in trouble. It was just very different to help those students so I thought it Story Name Structure Structure Summary Narrative Summary Notes/Why Important Most satisfying work experience in student affairs Abstract Orientation Complicating Action Result Evaluation A working student trying to better themselves and trying to help them figure out, it O life and finally gotten herself straight. She talked about you know, that s he had primarily those types of students, inner city students, and she became very active CA udent to go with us to a R E exposed to that type of new activity, new development. That was really kind of a Work with comm.. college students rewarding. Ex. 41 year old woman who straightened herself out after drug use; chose her to go to conference, which was the first time she had flown or left hometown. rewarding. Watching students grow and stretch beyond their previous experiences is very rewarding. Specific instances of student experiences where they do things before are frequently mentioned as examples of satisfying work experience. Least satisfying work experience in student affairs (Really reasons why she left the field, continued to next page) Orientation Complicating Action Evaluation Result Evaluation Result Evaluation Result Evaluation O soul time, and this kind of goes into I think why I ultimately probably left student affai CA E couple. Because you had to live on (campus), you know, so I did my job search and I was looking at residenc e life positions. And every time I would go and I would look at the housing and it just was not necessarily conducive to being a R nd that probably limited me because as I got offered residence director positions, the entry level, he just Did soul searching after grad school; knew residence life to a young married couple. Branched out to community college work but prospect of moving frequently/asking husband to restart his job for hers when hers would not pay their bills. Relocating to take bigger jobs/ more responsibility is not easy with trailing spouse, esp ecially paid enough to support both. Entry level st affa irs work, not paid well considering Ed. Relocating when expenses not reimbursed is esp frustrating. Story Name Structure Structure Summary Narrative Notes/Why
216 Summary Important Least satisfying work experience in student affairs (continued from previous page) E R E or why, um the student affairs career I think really forces you to move around. necessarily going to pay the bills. Those were my two big things is that constant (Continued on next page) E R E parents, you went to 6 years of school, they offered you $25,000 a year, you things that are kind of re get promoted and you want to do things, you need to move and get different to be able to support us, and support the fact that he w ould have to leave his job frustrating because I really liked the going to be able to support us, and support the fact that he would have to leave his job every See above. Choosing to leave the career in student affairs Orientation Evaluation Complicating Action Orientation Result Evaluation O like the people I was working with. I found that there were not a lot o f other folks E my bills. CA O R s and Working at comm.. college frustrating in that coworkers did not share her ed background and had a 9 to 5 mentality. type of environment Also geographically jo b. Working in an institution where you cannot pay your bills and see no future career path for yourself is frustrating, esp when changing jobs requires relocating so that a spouse must do so as well.
217 E and being in a relationship. I think it w I mean, the fact that they offered me $25,000 co ming out, I was like poverty is but still, even then, my teacher friends were getting paid well above that in this president of student olks and ask him to change jobs as well. That along with not being able to support them both was frustrating. Story Name Structure Structure Summary Narrative Summary Notes/Why Important Choosing to leave the career in student affairs Orientation Complicating Action Result Evaluation O CA e going to be on a 3% every year for the rest of your career as a state R E areer path, there was no financial potential for doing a good job, and maybe what I needed to do was leave and then come back because then I would have had a different salary negotiation point. That was actually my thought that I would maybe leave and come Being a state employee meant locking her into no more than a 3% annual raise, when she was already having difficulty got to leave. No career path or hope for significant pay raises = choice to leave the career. Conflict between work and non work responsibilitie s Abstract Orientation Complicating Action Evaluation Result A O home with my new husband without being interrupted. So you could never quite get away. And tha CA really good about that. It just, yeah, something happens. It always does. Because E life it was always conflict call, people come to you with things so boundaries and have personal time, esp for a young married couple. Boundaries betwn work time and non work time are difficult to manage in res life. Having family/spous e makes it difficult to strike that balance & feel comfortable to say no, should not be the case.
218 horrible situation going on. But I never wanted to be one of those types of hall w what was going on in my building. I tried to like, you need to call the on R Story Name Structure Structure Summary Narrative Summary Notes/Why Important Graduate student perception of the career compared to the reality of the experience Abstract Evaluation Complicating Action Result A E my experiences as a professional. Just becau se the work was so different and the students were so different. I mean I did a 180 from (grad institution) to as a grad student and then what it became as a professional. If a nything the work life balance was a bit different because that was more of a 9 to 5 student activities job than 24 hour residence life job, which gave me work life balance CA I had had those grad experiences of R thing, so I intentionally picked the next student affairs job that would all ow institutions/students (/ time expectations) were very different; 9 5 st activities job at comm. coll vs. intentionally picked nex t student affairs job that would allow separation (from) institution when I She picked an entry level job with more regular hours since her graduate position had been in housing. However, she ended up not enjoying it as much and still not being able to pay her bills (see response for Least Satisfactory work experience). What you would do differently Evaluation Orientation Evaluation Complicating Action Evaluation Result Evaluation E O is to get my Ph.D. and go back and teach and be on the faculty side. E college and university setting but what I thin k maybe my track is better suited for need to go back to my roots and to what I used to love to do. And take my experiences as a professional and CA tion); I E R E have stayed in school and gotten a would like to go back and teach leadership courses. my career path. I actually think it may be setting me up for She sees her career path as setting her up for the next phase, teaching leadership courses. That would utilize her work experience and her student affairs training. Story Structure Structure Summary Narrative Notes/Why
219 Name Summary Important Corporate America compared to higher education (in response to ask that you thought I would?) Abstract Orientation Complicating Action Evaluation Orientation Evaluation Result (rest on next page) Evaluation Orientation Evaluation Complicating Action Result Evaluation A when I left I left and went and did something O and universities. I was in charge of leadership development and developing CA t I was doing in higher ed E O engagement activities, so it was a little bit diffe rent but it was a temporary job. This is what I was talking about before. I thought I would leave student affairs, go try this, it was a one year contract position with a corporation here. I would dy told me please come E have a one just be the end of my contract and I could go back if R development background. They had a position running new employee orientation. And I was running five programs a year, 1000 people, had a mi llion E O day, we fly you in because we have people a the curriculum; I did the train and trainer sessions. So I was doing all the same on to doing new manager programs which I would train faculty on how to train the trainer so it was a lot of how do adults learn? And so my focus was teaching these folks and how to coach, develop and train people so that they could E rt for development and education. And it was CA senior team and the CEO and they would deliver programs to the new e xecutives so I got to be onsite and working with them and giving coaching and feedback to important when I left I left and went and did something using her higher ed training to do leadership development and training/HR work in corporate America, where they value her level there is much paid well to do the things she liked to do with students all those things I had loved doing in Being valued for your skills and training (and getting paid for them) is highly rewarding. The love of working with students is not enough for people when they cannot support themselves and their family. R See above. See above.
220 found out that t here was actually lots of interest in folks who had my background E decision to not go back was so easy, because I was getting everything that I had ever job but as soon as they found out about my background they offered me full time perfect. It was just like absolutely the dream job, from a student affairs perspective, it was all those things that I had always loved doing in student Is there anything else? Evaluation Complicating Action Result Evaluation E disappointed with the career path and the financial compensation. Even if I was doing a g ood job I was never going to get more than a 3%, so I was sunk unless I CA R affairs in c E just really lucked out. I got everything I wanted from a passion perspective in disappointed with the career path and the financial just never came found student affairs in corporate 2 reasons why she thinks people quit student affairs support a family with entry level pay and the career path/ financial compensation are disappointing. Both are strong personal reasons that make leaving a job you love difficult but necessary.
221 APPENDIX I STORY ANALYSIS TABLE Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique 1 Alice, p. 1 A, O, E, CA, E, CA, O, R, E a fascinating combination of counseling and helping and trips, and students getting the enjoyment out of that, and then combine with some feeling of, you know, helping the greater person, using some of my psychology Adequate perspective for c hoosing a career? Unlike counseling, in student affairs she could see the benefits of her work; led to clarification of career choice. Elaine participants said similarly about falling or drifting into the career; Faye said similarly about helping people. 1 Alice, p. 1 O, CA, R, E Satisfied w/ program/ faculty after visiting Carrie said similarly grow up to be like them 1 Alice, p. 1 O, E, CA, R, E so lucky to be like, hang out with them and, you know, there was just such a tight knit and (mentor), I mean (names people she identified earlier as being inf luential to bring her to that institution). It was such an amazing help but feel like I wanna grow up to be like them some people that I thought were fantastic and that were really inspirational to work with. Mentorship is extremely valuable for helping grad students adjust/transition to roles as new professionals. Literature reveals lack of mentors to be detrimental to new prof essional s. Elaine said similarly eeper 1 Alice, p. 2 O, CA, E, R E E: success on so many different fronts. You measured and the entertainers that you could get and the food, so it was just, I mean it was just satisfying and any time you can mix your job with something that really has a deeper Seeing your hard work come to fruition; excitement for a large event going off well; for a job well done; all are enhanced when the Ingrid said similarly regarding benefit of seeing tangible benefits of job well done Yes deeper meaning
222 ing very defined that kind of money raised by students, it was just amazing. On top of everything else there was a real pride in you having done it too. I mean we stayed up for 32 hours. We were righ t alongside of making it happen. goal accomplished is for service to others Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique really matter 1 Alice, p. 3 A, O, CA, E, R activities. Something else E: you never feel more like a step child in student affairs And you know athletics trumps you and academics trumps you ( laughs ) and, other facets of student life constantly being asked your opinion just to have it, you a a ton of usage but what it was, they really liked the look of it in brochures. So they really wanted to keep the thing but they really wanted us to tell them that there was some magic place to put i gonna impede something. And there was just a lot of, you e Decisions made by others that impact your work; being asked for your opinion and then not having it matter; these types of issues make working in student affairs especially frustrati ng when you feel you are limited by others. Leads to dissatisfaction in the work place. (See next point below.) Carrie said similarly
223 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique could help 1 Alice, p. 5 O, E, CA, R, E E: sending students to (nearby city), to (another city), it was a really unorganized program in that it had always just kind of been like Joe Schmoe off the street who had no higher degree doing this and so the (grad students) had no training. I mean these were grad students that were hired to go out and take a group of 20 students on an airplane to (city) for 3 days and come back with them. And I walked in fresh out of grad school and knew all the risk management, all the legal things, and I just, I such a shock to the system, you know, to get out there and have to, there was nobody above me that could help me. I mean these people were not, most of them had a college education but they were really there to teach English to student activities, and there was no hiera rchy. It was in it reported to Student Affairs. It reported to some director that just needed to make sure that she covered the in and just Difficult transition from graduate school into first professional position where no one else had a student affairs backgro und/ training and she had no one to report to or to seek assistance or support from. Elaine said similarly regarding lack of mentor and/or good supervision 1 Alice, p. 5 O, E, CA, E, R, E What I love about student activities is, one minute sitting in front of the board explaining a program and little bit of it 100%.... When I was at work I was thinking about him and when I was with him, I was thinking about work. And I just, I mean, at the end of the pregnancy I thought, mystified. And the thought of trying to put all my Having to choose or being with children is not a choice we should force staff to make. Family friendly work policies are especially important in areas with no n traditional work hours. (See next story .) Donna said similarly re feeling forced to choose doing good work or be ing a parent.
224 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique 1 Alice, p. 6 O, CA, E, R, E have rolled it down a bit. I know I worked a lot and I grunge work. I wanted to be the one at the pep rally sometimes. And I wanted to go to their events and to be inconsistencies of, especially in student activities, that are tough. I mean I can see myself going back and doing academic counseling, something like that where it was love the university. But I it makes me really sad because, even now a picture will pop up on my screensaver of a spring break trip I t ook, an alternative break trip, and I mean you just, with very little effort, you can dramatically change students lives. And if you put a lot of effort out, you can change a lot of really Having to choose between being a good spouse/mother and doing your job well and making an impact is not helpful to keeping professionals in the field. Inflexible work hours can force women who love working in student affairs to choose their family over their job. Is it realistic to expect parent to regularly work 18 hour days? Hattie and Ingrid said similarly regarding long hours and being available/called in want to have 1 Alice, p. 7 A, O, E, CA, E, R n your 20s you want to go out a lot, you want to drink, you want to be out with your on be out and about and it was just, it was very frustrating n being silly or embarrassing, I just would like to have a couple of beers and laugh and be silly with my friends. Esp for young/new professionals, fee ling the need to set boundaries between them and students can lead t o feeling you cannot go out and be yourself if students are around. f Gloria said similarly missing out 1 Alice, p. 7 O, E, CA, R, E calls I would get from people were amazing, but because always lots of evening hours until 12. Especially in your 20s before you have up being known as the friend that, you Non traditional work hours make time with friends and family late hours (more than 40 60 hours per week per the literature). Missing events with family/ friends; is job is worth that? Faye said similarly
225 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique I ended up b uilding a relationship 1 Alice, p. 8 A, O, CA, R, E I got really good at talking them through that with the student because she would come in and say, Satisfaction from building relationships and helping students and parents through rough patches of college life. Carrie said similarly My favorite experiences 1 Alice, p. 8 O, CA, R, E And she was just, you know it was amazing to see these emotionally fragile kids that are just so overwhelmed at the prospect of being away from home kinda grow. I mean my favorite experiences are always in seeing s position, either all the leadership leaves and we ask them Personal successes of students frequently what st aff prof s indicate are most satisfyi ng work experience s, as was the case in this study. Faye said similarly A real success story (example of previous story) 1 Alice, p. 8 O, CA, R, E and it was really good because it was an identity redefining and now she works for (major corporation) doing this because I feel like she became more than she t hought she Feeling like you had a hand in or are ab le to witness student growth / identity development is probably why many people stay in student affairs as long as they do. Carrie and Ingrid said similarly your mortgage is 1 Alice, p. 9 A, O, E, CA, R, E you know, g .. hours than them when you realize how financially undervalued this Seeing your friends work less and make more can make you reconsider your career choice. Hattie said similarly
226 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique difficult career for people who would like to have 1 Alice, p. 9 E, O, E, CA, R, E I felt like I was pretty well prepared, honestly, for the of surprising to me how little how open th M any respondents s aid what they loved about student affairs and how they would have liked to stay but felt they needed to spend more time on their families. W e l ose employees by making them choose between a family and their jobs. Short sighted. Donna, Faye and Ingrid said similarly like a good option to go to graduate 2 Barbara, p. 1 A, O, CA, R, E oyed my E: people and um, I was originally a journalism major and realized about halfway through my degree program that that was incompatible with my values at that point, um, and you know, digging up dirt on people was not how I wanted like a good option to go to graduate school in higher ed and be able to do some of those things, the things I liked better about college Involvement in student life as an undergraduate and wanting to help others have the same key experiences seems to be a key point of entry into student affairs as a profession (per literature and this study) Carrie said similarly planets were 2 Barbara, p. 1 A, O, CA, E, R, E the thing that I loved the most, just seeing the new students come in and how apprehensive they were and having that team of leaders that helped ease them over that speed bump and got them started in the right Leadership has always been my area of interest and so that intense leadership experience where uences so you can really tell from the beginning of the summer to the end of a summer if that person changed it is likely because they participated in that program so you know you can kind of take ownership of that, you know, Joe is a better person today t easier to see the impact you have as a student affairs professional. Being able to see the impact you have on students is key for student affairs to balance job satisfaction with dissatisfaction with the long hours and low pay. Ingrid said similarly regarding being able to see the impact you have on students
227 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique have the political 2 Barbara, p. 2 O, E, CA, E, R, E E: and I was not prepared for that job, although I thought I was and academically on paper I was very prepared. I did not have the political skills to manage that environment. A nd orientation is probably the wo rst of offices, plus all the food service and residence life and all, and I just did not have the political skills to navigate that well nk my supervisor was not a good was wonderful at really helping me see, okay, if you tell her and then h it sounds so ob vious now but at the, you know think about then And s o she r eal ly kind of taught me how to navigate politically and how to think through the domino effect of if you do this you realize that this chain Good supervision is key to helping graduate students transition into successful new professionals. Elaine said similarly regarding impact of supervisors. consciously made the choice to leave student 2 Barbara, p. 2 A, O, CA, E, R, E because what would the point be? So after I had my mean, (mentor) is now the vice president of student aff airs; she was my direct supervisor when I was a grad to do training and management progr of (government agency). That sounds horrible (laughs) Lack of opportunity for women to reenter student affairs after leaving to have children or moving tantamount to losing the resources put into training and educating that professional; doubling her salary within two years outsid e of student affairs is also an important reason people leave the field. Carrie said similarly re not specifically intending to leave SA but being drawn away by a better offer (more money, fewer hours, chance for advancing, etc.).
228 And I really got along well with the two people I me t that day and one of those people would be my supervisor thing for a short term until I can get something on campus. And then once I got here, it was really and joke with me and all my friends, y ou know, like yeah, I work for the (government agency). How can that not be funny? that were different than student affairs. It was a lot more h crying in my office. That was something I never really and abilities were recognized more quickly here than in now, the things that we took for granted in student affairs were really appreciated here and, I think, within a year or two of me starting to work here I had doubled my salary from what I was making development officer so he works a lot of nights and balance his schedule and my schedule, so the 8 to 5 gig is (laug Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique stuff that was late in the 2 Barbara, p. 3 A, O, CA, R, E that would be the main conflict is especially stuff that was late in the evening Late night hours are typical for student affairs professionals, making child care difficult. Donna and Ingrid said similarly I was aware how political 2 Barbara, p. 3 A, O, E, CA, R, E I think at each level you realize how much more then I was absolutely sure I knew all t he pieces and how to put them together and I went to my first job and knew that (mentor), when I was there, was doing all this Political landscapes and budgets were two issues mentioned as participants not being fully aware of as graduate students. Grad prep programs should consider this. Carrie said similarly about new levels of responsibility as you progress
229 level you, you r eyes are opened to how much more there grad student we sort of knew how much we had but never, and then I was expected, in my first job my budget more I would have used that resource wisely to prepare for down the road rather than, you know, buying extra pens and t shirts and whatever, but that was an obvious Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique that I would have gone into student affairs to 2 Barbara, p. 3 A, E, O, CA, E, R, E I would not have gone to work at (small liberal arts college). I would have trusted my gut and if, in the reason for t hat and you just need to find something built a lot of skills, um, because really colle ges are more Are women entering st affs not plan ning to advance to ? What does that mean for careers when entry/ lower level positions are salaried so low ? M ust one move up or out of the field, to make it worth time, money and energy, by both practitioners and i nstitutions? How do em to stay? Gloria also said she would stay in stud ent affairs long term when she was entering graduate school. Yes in that no one else mention ed being further along in their career if not gone into student affairs. really leave student affairs because 2 Barbara, p. 4 O, CA, E, R, E walk away from, you know, because so many of my 85% of my friends, Facebook friends, are higher ed people and I think that too makes me feel like I still have Having connections to me ntors and former coworkers and students through social media or alumni connections can help former student affairs professionals feel connected and can ease transitions into and out of the field. Carrie said similarly
230 Story Name Participant Structure Imp ortant structure Why important Commonality Unique had so much 2 Barbara, p. 6 A, O, CA, R, E things like that that were just almost painful to go through and feel like, you know, I actually felt in some time clock position where I had to punch in and out and octor or whatever. And so that was, I think the transition was that drastically. If that makes sense. And a couple of weeks ago someone here was being v ery critical of me compliment (laughing). Because I can read and I can do research and figure ou t and so, you know, I think the skills I learned definitely have carried over whether Even though she makes more money and has better hours in her government job, she spoke of the freedom within student affairs and the difficulty sh e had transitioning to a government job where time sheets were the rule and little authority was given to individuals. Elaine mentioned being able to use her skills well as being important to her; Barbara mentioned her skills being appreciated more in he r Yes back to the feeling of being 3 Carrie, p. 1 A, O, E, CA, O, E, CA, E, R, E Everyone at the university was pretty surprised simply because I was not a state stude nt and so research shows that out of state students are most, it takes them the most time to get integrated into the university particularly when everybody else at the university is from that city or minimally that state. So the number of times that I was nd I was just miserable. It took everything between my mom and I for me not to go back home. And so the only thing that I could think of to do was find a wa able to do some of the most highly regarded student student [alumni association member] and talk to people about how easy it is to make the transition, you know, from out of state. And then, you know, my most ultimate leadership experience at the university was I student government vice president ... so that was the, my Having a good experience getting involved in student life as an undergraduate seems to be the impetus for many people in choosing student affairs as a career field. Elaine and Faye said similarly about being needed or filling a need in the field
231 senior year that just coupled what I thought, I mean, got to do this for a y ou can have so much fun on Most people kind of need you. S o that, I think it all goes back to that feeling of being needed. It was really important to me Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique get to do what 3 Carrie, p. 1 O, E, CA, R they told me about the Mentor advice is helpful in getting grad stude nts into higher ed programs/ asstships. Gloria and Ingrid also re mentor advice/ graduate school the light bulb go off for 3 Carrie, p. 2 A, O, E, CA, E, R And I felt like that was a great place for me to start I was magnified by you know, a thousand, right? ready to got lucky in grad school because I had a great experience, a great building. I had smart kids; they mean they sucked the life out of me best experience [was] just seeing the light bulb go off for them Working with freshman students can be a great experience, especially for practitioners with an interest in teaching. Feeling needed and encouraging. Faye said similarly regarding feeling needed and enjoying student growth and development was so stubborn they lived together for 4 3 Carrie, p. 2 O, E, CA, R, E All four of them are sitting back to I know all their parents because we talked so much because just they lived together for fo satisfying experience someone else into yes to see someone just 3 Carrie, p. 2 O, CA, R, E Those little things that to me were like no big deal providing them with the opportunity to see someone just now when they send me things on Facebook and say cked me upside the head or, you know, made satisfying work experience was being a role model to first generation students. Similar to other most satisfying experiences of student growth but with a specific angle. yes
232 knowing that I was somewhere a part of that, it just gives words Knowing that you can help students envision a future greater than they can see for themselves is especially meaningful. Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique I could make something of myself and now look at 3 Carrie, p.4 O, CA, R, O, E So this was the biggest A hole on that team that ge, I literally not at all what I remembered w you when you this is the kid that I thought was going to amount to nothing, was like the bane of my existence for seven totally comes to my re downsi de but then six years, seven years later it becomes like an upside. Because I still had an impact, and I think came back at graduation or w hen they came back the The hard work done by student affairs professionals, especially in difficult situations, can still impact students even s not apparent. Helping students to channel their feelings positively and to believe in themselves is the greatest lasting impact we can leave on students. Having former students come back and say you made an impact on their life is a frequent story, also said by Ingrid The st ory of a former student defend her is unique more money director for the rest of my 3 Carrie, p. 5 A, O, CA, E, R, E money? My family was like, how in the world can you where you could p think I ever desired to leave student affairs because I continue to remain involved in both of my alma She left s tudent affairs when a corp she had been working with offered her tw o times her current salary. So passion for students was overcome by financial reality. Hattie and Barbara said similarly reg arding not wanting to leave/ choosing to make more money
233 So I never wanted to leave but definitely I can say that the biggest attraction was the money. But I also say to job was being a hall director. I mean if I could get paid be creative, y ou have to problem solve, you have to analyze and you are a whole person every single day. with college students and impacting, you know, what the fu housing, who I believe is the smartest man in the start thinking about yourselves as out of the classroom ; you all get a paycheck that allows me to support higher ed in a different way. But I was never one of those higher ed people just wanting, clamo Appreciating or viewing your role as an out of the classroom teacher h elps practitioners to see the bigger picture in student affairs work. Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique expect that 3 Carrie, p. 6 O, CA, E, R, E very lucky to have two directors of res life that had tw o Even working in the area you plan to, you do perspective until you doing the job as a pro. Barbara sai d similarly regarding not understanding the job until you are in it may have priced myself out of the 3 Carrie, p. 6 A, E, CA, R, E rning opportunity do anything differently but I know that because of the the market so to sp In the CA and R, she talks about bein g single at 40 put ed eels like she is intimidating to men because of advanced ed and is completely self supporting. Yes She is one of 3 single women in this study; only 1 to say this
234 know that it typically comes up as relationships start to Is advancement in student affairs dep on how much time you do not take off for self ? Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique the respect that it 3 Carrie, p. 6 A, E, O, E, CA, E, R E my story in my own words. E: This actually made me think about some of the great experiences I had and you start to wonder, well why did I leave? I love, I loved, I love still every second of higher ed. It thought I would ask you just really caused me to reflect on the Even after dif experience, she loves higher ed and would return if she could get paid more. Hattie said similarly about returning if you could get paid more and Alice spoke about the field being financially undervalued what you 4 Donna, p. 1 O, E, CA, E, R C So I was inv olved in that a little bit, and t he guy that ran that was a very good friend of mine and I had always wonde red, you know, what he did, and how he did that. But at the time, um, I wa s an elementary education major; all I wanted to do was teach Undergraduate invmt in st affairs even tangentially, can he lp people envision a student affairs career. Elaine and Ingrid spoke similarly about told or asking about st affairs thing that I enjoyed kind of kicked me towards student 4 Donna, p. 1 O, E, CA, E, R I was pleased with because not only did I work the back end of making sure the contract was met which you know is, I enjoy that part of whole organizing. So that one thing that I really enjoyed k ind of kicked me towards student activities, which is Having multiple exp (internships, graduat e assistantship) during grad school can give brea college exp/ help clarify wh ether/where one wants to work Barbara spoke similarly about interning or working in an area that helped them choose it/student affairs for career. them form 4 Donna, p. 1 O, E, CA, E, R C students and I really Loved that. And I also liked working with the freshmen, the incoming students. Just helping them kind of focus and watching them form relationships with the orientation counselors even though it was only for a couple of days but just watching that whole thing and that dynamic. Watching students grow and develop, and having the opportunity to work with multiple areas across campus can be greatly satisfying in student affairs work. Alice spoke similarly about watching students develop relationships and grow
235 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique was more important for me to be home with 4 Donna, p. 2 A, O, E, CA, E, R E, C when I was pregnant with my I would have been paying more for child care. And you days when I would spend 12 to 14 hours at work and wha t are you going to do with an infant there? And quite honestly, I thought it was more important for me to be home with my child that have children and go back to work full time and do all that kind of stuff, but it was jus t something that I have really made no sense for me to be paying my salary rather do without my salary and s pend time with my child. Forcing women to choose between working and having children (or not paying them enough so that they can afford child care) is causing many women to leave their student affairs careers. Several participants mentioned not being able to afford child care and needing to stay home with their children. to screw my 4 Donna, p. 3 E, A, O, CA, E, R, E C Yeah, this makes no sense, well, it does make sense. d things because we knew, okay, if we sure that they cover for us, whereas if we wait a little bit d no, you conscious effort on my part because to married and going on a vacation f or a week, bye. S o I a certain extent with my personal life in that I chose to coordinate things a little differently because of knowing my job responsibilities In response to Q about conflict between work/ non work life, she said she plan ned wedding around work dates (orient ation, family weekend ) ( husband works i n higher ed too ) so that friends/ co workers could attend & so honeymoon would not be mak e c jobs more difficult covering. A few participants spoke of missing personal events but this is the only participant who mentioned planning personal events around her work schedule. Yes But Ingrid also mention ed schedule and her response to it being me 4 Donna, p. 3 A, O, CA, R, E whenever I decided to go to graduate school, that was what I had to do at that point in time. Just in my life, I needed to do something different ly You know, where I grew up there was one Black kid raised to be that way so I was more than willing to open This participant has no regrets. This story is in response to the anything you would do differently if you had to do it all over with Elaine also spoke of making choices based on what was best for her at the time and looking back at them as good.
236 up and embrace different things like to do that kind of for me to help me refocus myself and those things where somebody was pushing me along and difficult work exp and choosing to leave her career for fami ly, needed to do at the Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique of them are in student affairs 4 Donna, p. 4 A, E, O, E, CA, E pay and again, schedules, because you know student affairs schedules really think that had a lot to do with it. Flexibility and money and jus the field, just things needed to change in their lives. Everyone in her graduate program cohort had to choose between family and/or more money and their student affairs careers. According to her, all of them have chosen to leave student affairs. She is the only one to comment that her cohort is entirely out of student affairs but Alice, Ingrid & Gloria mentioned attrition in student affairs due to issues. Yes was looking for it as a 5 Elaine, p. 1 O, CA, R, E looking for it as a career but you know, here were some things that I enjoyed doing and ah, somebody said if I Like most being told about it by admin. Her exp was different but process is same. Alice also spoke of career in student affairs some good and I me t a 5 Elaine, p. 1 O, CA, R, E had actually met some kind of need in the field and that was huge I really felt like, satisfying expe and is one of few that working with students. Carrie talked about needing to feel needed in her work. felt like I to go 5 Elaine, p. 2 E, O, CA, E, R that was kind of dissatisfying from a professional development standpoint. I just kind o She felt overlooked when it came to doing pres entations for her VP or being chosen for professional development yes
237 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique we had to do 5 Elaine p. 2 O, CA, R, E tizing. We were just trying to keep up all the programs of the office And we were doing the budgeting, the reporting, everything that a director was supposed to be doing. We were doing all of that. I guess if we had known better, if we had approached o ur dean or if we had a direct supervisor, somebody to say, and prioritize things for us, you know. Tell us what you want done. Instead we felt like we had Being short staffed is stressful, esp when the person missing is yo ur supervisor and feel you have to keep everything up E very day becomes struggle of doing yo ur work and theirs. should check in short staffe d areas to help prioritize/ make sur e coping Many stories were about the need for good supervision but two specifically spoke of filling in for a missing staff person/ doing 2 jobs. (Also Faye) 5 Elaine, p. 2 A, O, E, CA, R, E My perception is that he felt threatened by whenever we would try to introduce new ideas or new programs or whatever that threatened him; it always felt like he was afraid we would make him look bad as opposed to, you g up with all a theme there of um, you know, the times that were ability. I wa R ealized while telling this story that she was again talking about a tim e where she felt underutilized; felt stagnant Admin need to be cognizant of departments (not) working that way. She is the only participant who identified being underutilized though others talked of being misused/abused by supervisors. yes incredibly unprepared 5 Elaine, p. 3 A, E, O, CA, R, E We ta lked about having imposter syndrome and feeling old as I am and what do I know better t han them I was incredibly unprepared for that. You know, supposedly I had a counseling minor. I had had like 3 kind of, that level of what students would be looking to In story (O, CA, R) she discusses a student talking with her and That is what she was not prepared for. She felt that grad programs should offer more counseling cou rses to prepare new prof s for the level of personal assistance students would be seeking. Other participants spoke of not being prepared to work with budgets or with institutional politics but she is the only one to mention needing more training to work with personal issues. yes
238 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique I was meant for something more than 5 Elaine, p. 3 A, E, O, CA, E, R of my last for something more You know? What a m I doing? M y student stand out in the guess, that I remember clearly and then t he rest of it was, you know, a year and a half of disengaging myself and She relates her lowest depressed ; God about struggles. This (When did you know you wanted to leave your career?) was difficult for her to answer/ major turning point in her life. a bad experience ; and a half of pinpoi nting a time, she was was difficult. Yes More, apparent ly no one notice d her struggle. (see below) really 5 Elaine, p. 4 O, CA, E, R, E my hours. Because I worked so ma ny evenings and weekends that nobody questioned when I came and went, that that became a struggle because in my, with my own The thing is that nobody noticed, even though I felt like I to somebody because I was just living under this constant I a shower and then okay, well, I doing really well; nobody noticed when you were not doing really well. Nobody pretty much, no one noticed. kind of well, what am I doing? You know. As long as This seems to coincide with the timing of her depression me ntioned in the previous story. She had difficulty showi ng up for work and took sick time (mentioned in CA, R) and felt guilty ab out not putting in work, yet no one noticed. That led to question, This respondent spoke later about receiv ing personal counseling later, so recognizes the need for being prepared to help others with issues. That also is probably why she felt others should have seen her suffering, when she could not at the time. Whether this is accurate assessment (if others c ould have seen her struggles) is indicative of the issue brought up by other participants of having little or no (or bad) supervision. Had she felt closer to her supervisor, perhaps she might have confided about her difficulties and been able to receive h elp Yes This response shows the import of being able to have flexible hours to deal with personal and family health issues.
239 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique is not commensurat e with the 5 Elaine, p. 5 O, CA, R, E like i I get the same raise as everybody else. The same 3% or whatever it is. And then oted in this field. You have to move. woman and you have a family and your husband had a great job that he loves and pays a lot more She articulated what other s mentioned, that women in this field are forced to leave their husband make s more money. Since you typically have to change institutions to advance, mobility becomes an issue when more people (i.e. husband and/or family) are involved. Alice, Carrie also spoke of not matching $ to work effort P rofessionals must change every few years to advance (leaving friends, coworkers, savings behind). of lost its higher 5 E laine, p. 5 O, E, CA, E, R, E aspect, and also there was a lot of emphasis on student development theory and good methods of program assessment and all that stuff we got drilled into us in grad school. That stuff was just formalities in the real job, of lost its higher purpose that, you know in grad school students develop into maturity and lea rn how to be whatever, relate to each other and solve problems and all this other stuff. And then you show up at the real job no use of any of the techniques and skills that we have learned in grad sch The realities of student affairs work probably cannot be understood until one is in the job (i .e. no way to truly prepare during grad school), but perhaps more can be done to discuss politics of inst bur eaucracy and working with other adults (i.e. the non student related parts of the job), as well as dealing with conflict. T h ey can get a rosy picture of student affairs/not understand the reality ; not all institutions or supervisors are a good fit yes like I was carried on the 5 Elaine, p. 6 A, O, CA, E, R, E down to whether or not my husband was offered a job because I was newly married and he was going to make a lot more money than me and it was really stressful because it was over our honeymoon while we were And fortunately my director was newly wed as well and his wife was in the field and he understood. So that decision was made because my was. And then 3 years later my husband was offered a She feels her career deci sions have been less of her choo sing and more of what the details were at the etc.). Other mentioned being guided by $ All dual career couples must choose, but if Donna also spoke of not c onsciously choosing her path; Hattie spoke of choices based pay. Within the Yes in that the only one to say that she might have done it in a
240 job and that was more money, so we left and then I floated around looking for a job beca use now I was what I ended up limited by. I would have liked to have you know, what I know now, that I could have handled it differently. But in terms of my career decisions and my student affairs has consistently lower pay, then the choice is obvious. P articipan t left the best job she had ever had. L ater job experiences were less satisfying and directly led to her decision to leave the field. Had she been able to afford to stay at her first institution, she might still be in the field. limitations of her experiences depression, bad work exp ), she made the best choices she could at the time. Not having support system, she felt alone and directionless. different way if she was to do it over (knowin g what I know now). Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique because it for me 5 Elaine, p. 7 A, E, O, CA, E, R, E asked it directly in those words. Maybe you asked me when did I know I was going to leave. I told you all the reasons in the ot her questions so your other questions fter I left that sort of magical beg inning.... If At (last institution) I became mentors for my coworkers, and I tried to give my first experie nce being their first experience. And I do. I mean while I was at (institution) and while I was at ( institution) I stayed involved, I kept giving presentations but it was really, it kind of, it dwin dled. really push me and to call me to my highest, I guess. But only so long you can carry on by yourself and then In response to there anything you thought I would ask I asked about exp and when you knew you were leaving, but not directly why. So good point about the lack of specificity in my questions. The hard work of her mentors paid off in her staying in the field as long as she did and in her mentoring younger coworkers in later jobs However the ir hard work moot when later bad work experiences (and depression) led to her leaving the field. She is the only participant who related her personal struggles in such detail and to relate later therapy back to the lack of training in dealing with others personal issues. Yes anybody that
241 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique should be 5 Elaine, p. 8 O, CA, R, E was your job should be nourishing. It should nourish hy did you g et And we talked about it and he even told you you were good at it; it was fun; you know that there is anything that would pull me back into t he field. Not unless there was a complete culture the next level is you like She got another mentor right a s she was leaving the field, he recognized that she was getting less from her job than she was p utting into it and was ready to move on. Unlike other s she feels that the field is not nourishing and not worth returning to unless there is a culture change. Are th ey contributing their exp to individuals where she feels the field is to blame? Certainly she says that do for low pay, as other s said. S he articulates Ingrid also mentions a mentor who told her similar things about the job and knowing when to leave it. Alice also not going to get Yes in that she feels that student affairs is not worth returnin g to if it does not nourish you. somebody to walk you 5 Elaine, p. 9 A, E, O, CA, E, R, E life, that my life has ended not the way I thought it was hat I needed to walk to get I mportance of having mentors; replace some grad training with more counseling. She has thought about what it would take to get her back into not just mo ney. Because of her exp in therapy, and probably because her mentors asked her if she would Donna also talked about being where she needed to be Her part about the importance of mentors is echoed by Ingrid, Alice, Yes She is the only one who suggests changes to grad training
242 ust familiar with, like a little bit of assessment and how to and when I started working in the that. going to use it. And a lot of it is theories and models and not really how to relate to people. And the job is all about relating to people and teaching people how to relate to p the training is head knowledge. But it might have to be; there might not be any way to learn it without actually getting in the trenches and doing it. But then when the mentor. ever return, she has considered what might improve the field. Her response indicates that she thinks the graduate preparation is not sufficiently strong in training student affairs p rofessionals to deal with increasingly personal issues, or their own. Like other helping fields (nursin g, teaching, social work) student affairs attracts individuals who want to help others. Are we not preparing them for the work and/or supporting them in it? Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique rewarding; 6 Faye, p. 1 A O, CA, E, R do it and I mean, I was in the restaurant business for almost 10 relationship and I was not happy so I got out and it took me a couple months after I got ou t to really decide what I after student involvement. Knew about if by seeing her father do it and he encouraged her She might have a better understanding of st aff career (seeing him work late hours). Although she is only one with preexisting knowledge, is not unique in choosing it after being unhappy in a nother job (Donna,Carrie) 6 Faye, p. 1 O, CA, O, R, E I felt so rewarded that they t rusted me and that they needed me for guidance and that I was doing my counselor guiding job. Th at was the most rewarding day. I mean, many times, you know, a student gets her first B ever and comes in and we just have a ay. That was the most, I could go on for days because I, it was, I felt it This story about her most satisfying work experience details how she felt helping students on Sept. 11, 2001, where one student in particular had parents who had just left the building. Feeling trust ed/ needed by students is a huge benefit for many in this study. C arrie also spoke of feeling needed and liking that part of their work
243 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique for several months because 6 Faye, p. 2 A, O, CA, E, R, E A: several months because someone left.... the programming board, the newspaper, the yearbook, doing her stuff too, and it was draining. It was too much to ask. And no t that, you know, women should be able to go have babies; we need to be able to live our lives; Filling in for an open position or absent coworker is a source of frustration for student affairs staff. In the O, she indicates that the person hired background for a pretty pivotal position. She just knew Then she to ok medical leave due to pregnancy. Elaine also mentioned difficulty filling in for a missing staff person (her boss) while continuing her own duties. Yes She is the only one to mention a job search with low standard s prepared for quite the ramifications of what 6 Faye, p. 2 A, O, CA, E, R, E fully prepared for quite the ramifications of what worked in restaurants all about all kinds of stuff so that kind of conflict was not a problem. It was, you know, where do I find a generator need Not having all the information needed to do your job well, especially the first time, can make things more difficult. Is that just part of the learning process? Donna and Ingrid also spoke of not being fully prepared for unusual dutie s of their jobs (politics, media) your passion, 6 Faye, p. 3 A, O, CA, R, E get back without going back to school. And that, I think, is extremely After moving for job, they adopted a daughter. She tried to return and an Are we overlooking moms? Hattie expressed wi gone back to school; Gloria could not find work rewarding 6 Faye, p. 3 A, E, CA, R, E learn so much from these people that are going through a to hang on for Losing people who want to work with stud ents short sighted Women who leave to have kids and want to retu rn could be of great benefit if rehired. Their exp should not be overlooked. Ingrid, Donna and Carrie also expressed want ing to stay in contact with college students
244 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique of just like a 7 Gloria, p. 1 O, E, CA, E, R, E honest. I knew that that was the field I wanted to go into. I knew what I loved about it. I knew that I would be successful. I knew the people that were involved in it that I knew; every one of them I enjoyed their company I only knew of higher ed in the capacities that I had been in make everything possible in an institut ion, even though She had been grea tly involved as an undergrad like others. She had even been student body VP s o she worked with VPSA more than other participants. Yet she difficult to discover actually working in the everything that goes Carrie also mentioned not knowing the intricacies of st udent affairs work, even after working closely with administrators as undergrads and graduate students. 7 Gloria, p. 2 O, CA, R, E desperately! I felt very tied because a lot of the institutions around here are state institutions and they guessing 29 to 30 jobs within 6 months in this area, and out of all those app lications. And I had the experience. I had the degree. So it was a very frustrating process for me, just no feedback. And I was applying for positions not what She was place bound but still applied for many positions and institutions. R eceiving NO feedback is ridiculous. A dds to frustration of potential practitioners. Poor job search management ( every institution?) short sighted. Like Gloria, Faye applied for many positions for which she was well qualified in student affairs and received no feedback whatsoever. always on 7 Gloria, p. 2 O, E, CA, E, R, E to have a glass of wine and you never know what kind of burnout rate, from my perspective, of a lo t of young professionals in higher ed. And that was one reason why, when I went into non p rofit and loved it, I knew that family and I knew that I c oul schedule The uncertainty of work hours and situations can make student affairs careers a difficult choice, especially for newlyweds or for parents. Burnout is probably also a factor not end at the end of the work day. Alice, Carrie, Hattie also mentioned always being on call in Res Life, Greek Affairs, Judicial Affairs or Student Activities
245 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique people in our cohort, everyone else ended up all over the 7 Gloria, p. 3 O, CA, R, E higher ed. Out of 20 people, the ones who came home do not work in it. And I think part of it is the town. Greek Life administrator on every campus so that This participant was in a graduate program with another and both got married and stayed in the city (home town) due to family jobs. Donn a also mentioned her cohort no longer in st udent affairs; several mention need to move to advance 7 Gloria p. 3 O, CA, R, E professional career has literally become your personal bad thi ng, but it makes it hard for you to have some away. Student affairs prof s need to have flexibility to step away from their work and still be perceived as hard workers. Need to feel it is acceptable to f ocus on self Ingrid mentioned wanting to be perceived as committed to her work while pregnant. She get anywhere unless you know the 7 Gloria, p. 3 E, O, E, CA, E, R You know, even when I stepped out of grad school, I like, I guess I never saw myself moving past the first steps of higher ed. I never saw myself as a dean or a vice I think that was my experience too, that you The perception of old forego what believe in to advance is problematic yet some had this experience. And why did some want want to advance ? Barbara also said she thought student affairs work awhile. Also importance of mentors. Yes In that she talks network never thought 8 Hattie, p. 1 A, O, CA, R, E, R, E many of my cohort members were also who kind of think I could enjoy working with people li ke myself on campus, people that are highly involved and watching them grow and develop and help them to (graduate program) for those two years and really loved my experience. I was a residence hall director. Like others, she ch ose this f ield after being inv olved undergrad and having suggested as a career. In O she indicates she enjoyed being an RA response (story n ame) and exploration of grad programs. Several women mentioned wanting to help other students grow and develop; several also mentioned having the career suggested by administrators
246 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique than just school; it was 8 Hattie, p. 2 A, O CA, R, E trying to help them figure out, it was more than just was the most exceptional thing she had ever done, as far new activities, new development, that was kind of a cool thing. So I really felt that was rewarding. Again the student activities and interactions with students. Specific instances of student experiences where they do things they have never done before are frequently mentioned as examples of satisfying work experiences. Similar respon se in most satisfying experience being work with students; Carrie, Alice Yes in regards to comm. college work asking a lot of a spouse to follow your not going to 8 Hattie, p. 2 O, CA, E, R, E, R, E R, E environment for a young married couple. Because you had to I would go and I would look at the housing and it was just not necessarily conducive to a young married couple. If I was single i f probably back on that, a lot of people I work with who are as a goo when I was looking at your questi ons, the student affairs career I the things that are kind of really big stoppers. If and get different experiences. really frustrating because I really liked the career but it Constantly relocating to advance in your student affairs career is not easy with a trailing spouse, especially when you to support yourself or your family. Entry level student affairs work, especially, is not paid well considering th e necessary schooling. Having to relocate on top of that when those expenses are not reimbursed is especially frustrating. Several participants mentioned low pay in this field (Alice, Carrie) Some also mentioned having a spouse with a better paying job m ake advancement difficult (Elaine).
247 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique 8 Hattie, p. 3 O, E, CA, O, R, E I wanted to be able to support myself and just able to be more of a breadwinner, but in the student re. You do it because able to negotiate to $30 but still, even then my teacher friends were get ting paid well above that in this area, so and no financial potential for doing a good job Working at an institution where you cannot pay your bills and see no future career path for yourself is extremely frustrating, especially when changing jobs requires relocating so that a spouse must do so as well. Alice also mentioned not being able t o pay your mortgage. Elaine mentioned relocating a spouse as an issue as well as no financial incentive for doing good work. happens. It 8 Hattie, p. 4 A, O, CA, R, E w new husband without being interrupted. So you could never couple, because I would always be working. Even if I balance so that was always difficult to do. This story is in response to the Q about work and non work conflicts. She chose to work at a c ommunity college rather than Res Life because on campu s living/ being on call conflicted with the way she wanted to live as a newly married young couple. Carrie also said Res Life hours always conflict with non work; Alice and Donna also said student affairs wasn conducive to married life (both worked in student activities) any of my 8 Hattie, p. 5 O, E, CA, R, E still have a love of student affairs. I still have a love of any of my career path. I actually think it may be setting I n response to the question about doing anything differen tly She sees her career path as setting her up for her next phase, teaching leadership courses. That would utilize both her work exp erience and student affairs training. Faye and Ingrid mentioned wanting to return to or stay connected to student affairs. While her answer is similar to others no one else reflected forward.
248 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique the initial 9 Ingrid, p. 1 A, O, CA, E, R campus I met with deans that worked with Greek life so really In response to sparked your interest in a career in student visiting campuses for sorority led to interest in student affairs. Several wome n mentioned college experience in student affairs of a difference you really do make in a college 9 Ingrid, p. 1 A, O, CA, O, E, R, E working with one of the great mentors that was really formative for me. And then working in and how much of a difference you really do make in a college student satisfied working in O pportunity to work for great profess ors in grad school and the n administrators in work (in R) securing her d; feedback fr m students give s evidence of making a difference. Probably why mos t people enter this career Alice also spoke of great professors as mentors and being able to see the difference you made in your work with students. know when 9 Ingrid, p. 2 O, CA, E, R, E And I remember going to him and saying, you know, development o realizing, though, that there are a lot of re asons that you Her VP /mentor gave her the most honest and important reasons for leaving a job /inst in any career and s he recognized the power of the words. Esp since st affairs is a profession, point about i t no longer being healthy is important because I think we tend to stay because we feel needed, even when it might be to our detriment. Elaine al so mentioned a mentor talking about leaving when the job is not nourishing (Literature on health issues in women student affairs chief administrators). W ork is never don e and going home to family is not rewarded.
249 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique 9 Ingrid, p. 3 O, E, CA, E, R E But I think you get tired, when those things happen, the S tory about giving a judicial sanction to a student athlete, even though she felt pressure to go easy on him. Feeling supported in making difficult, unpopular decisions that ar e part of your job is esp important. But those decisions make you Carrie also spoke of judicial decisions being difficult, especially with student athletes Yes She spoke about being tired, of things p iling on impacts your 9 Ingrid, p. 4 O, CA, E, R, E But those are other issues, relationships, how it impacts nothing but I doubt if any male would do that. Now does that sound bitter? But I mean, I think that those become, those things become dissatisfiers because none of us got into the job for the money. Nor the attention. I th ink we kids, you understand and love student development and This participant is the only one to relate her choices with ones men might make in the same situation. She is the oldest in this study / may have reflected more on that issue, Grew up during the other participants She is not only participant to talk about getting into student affairs passiona te about working with students and leaving it (Elaine, Faye) Yes In that she is only one to talk about male response being different to do the grunt work 9 Ingrid, p. 4 O, CA, O, R, E noticed; you work hard so that do the grunt found a way to do it I was like a single mom with two little kids. Just trying S tory is about seek ing a replacement to take a sabbatical ; HR rules did n ot mesh with admin approval supportive if reality is not workable. You cannot take advantage of it, or your work falls on coworkers or remains undone. Alice and Donna also mentioned day to day detail s falling on coworkers but did not use the It ends up not really being a benefit (paid leave for degree work) Yes In that she is the only one to mention a sabbat ical to work on a PhD
250 Story Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique to be kidding 9 Ingrid, p. 5 O, CA, E, R, E st those elements of environment. Other environmental thing. I had great training and what you put in you get out so I really had some of t person at each of those locations early on to help me through those things so I just had great, you never felt alone which is wonderful in our field. I had great Story is about working with media on hazing incident during first job ( feeling unprepared to do your job ) There is only so much grad programs can do to prepare you for work and media training is incre asingly important. Support / guidance through highly charged situations is important. Other participants who men tion being unprepared talk about institutional politics. Yes She is the only one to mention working with the media know I wanted to 9 Ingrid, p. 5 A, O, E, CA, R, E E: I had great relationships so nobody displayed any bitterness for me leaving and I had great support in transitioning. It was really weird, too, because it was in other side. And there truly was t he other side. But it was really, the sad thing from a student affairs side, it was a student affairs program in an academic house, which is how they like to couch it, you know? It was such a Eve rything student affairs does is about retention and This story is about her transitioning from student affairs to an academic affairs program that she was asked to develop, even though it really was a student affairs (leadership) program. Housing program under academic affairs gave it cachet and probably more $ since both are about retention. Yes She is only one to move from student affairs to academi c affairs before leaving higher ed 9 Ingrid p. 6 O, E, CA, E, R, E work things that we do, as professional women probably, S tory about conflict betw work/ non work to prove commitment bei ng newly married/ pregnant. Do all women prof s feel this need to prove cmtm nt? yes
251 S tory Name Participant Structure Important structure Why important Commonality Unique choose to leave their 9 Ingrid, p. 6 A, CA, E, R, E ds who were in that understanding of why, trying to figure out why people are leaving. I keep going back to the motivators. You know, what gets us keeps us in unless there is something, a dissatisfier evokes that. You know, like a perceived unfairness in your work or, you know, things that make it Story is in response to lse Feels women in st affairs remain in field unless dissatisfied for some reason. The money is good on ce you get past mid career ( research tells us most admin stay if they reach mid level) but at entry level it is different between student a ffairs and other divisions in higher education She is not the only participant to mention money as a reason women leave student affairs but she is the only one to compare it to other areas in higher ed. (Alice, Carrie, Hattie) Are we supposed to live on passion for our work? get a real 9 Ingrid, p. 6 O, CA, E, R, E I prepared for; this is something I believe in; this is something I invested my life in. So to make a comment This story is another part of the previous story and is told as an and her em ployee was flippant about the field. But she says work groups are like families; you need a mix of people. Are some staying in student affairs and others leaving for something better? Is that just how it goes or can we do something to make leavers stay? yes
252 APPENDIX J TRANSCRIPT OF STORY Researcher: LW Protocol Number: 4 Date: 5/31/2011 Location: Research Topic: women former student affairs professionals/choice to leave career 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 time job in academic affairs after leaving student affairs to have children and is married with two children. This semi structured interview will follow protocol questions and any fo llow up questions that arise. Participant will be identified here as 4 and the researcher as LW. Transcripts will be typed verbatim with notes about pauses or auditory but non verbal responses (i.e. laughter, etc.) in and notes will be added to the left or in a separate memo. st start out with what sparked your interest in a career in student affairs? 4: Um, when I was a, I think I was a sophomore in college, I worked in a LW: MmMmm. that right from the get go. Um, so I helped, you know, with assigning students to floors and keys and all that kind of stuff but they also ran the um, the conference center out of that office. LW: MmMmm. 4: So I was involved in that a little bit, um, and the guy that ran that um, was a very good f riend of mine and I had always wondered, you know, what he did, um, and how he did that. But at the time, um, I was an elementary education major, all I wanted to do was teach. That was just my, my campus job was just something that I did. LW: Right. 4: Um, so I ended up graduating and teaching for a few years. Got sick and said okay, I want to do what you did, how do I do w hat you did? And he told me there was a program called student affairs in higher education and da da da that you know, this is how I got there and this is where you need to go, this is who you need to talk to. So that was it.
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267 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Laura H. Waltrip was born nine minutes after her twin sister Beth, in an Army military hospital in Frankfurt, Germany to Lee and Lois Waltrip She went to a few different elementary schools as she traveled between parents before settling down in Pensacola, Florida for m iddle school in a private, religiously affiliated school and then attendance at a public high school, J. M. Tate. She remained in Pensacola while attending the University of West Florida as part of its initial freshman class. This experience was informat ive for Laura as she and 99 other recent high school graduates including Beth, attended classes on what had previously been an upper division could be heard as she and her classmates brought the freshman experience to UWF. After an initial foray into a few different majors, Laura settled on Marketing as a interested in student affairs work, having become involved in many student leadership roles during her baccalaureate years. However, she was not quite ready for graduate work that helped her decide to give student affairs another look. Upon recommendation by her former UWF vice president of student affairs, she enrolled in the higher educ University. She graduated and became employed as director of student activities at Shorter College, a small, private Baptist college in Rome, GA. She spent five years there working with student organ izations and coordinating the orientation program.
268 After deciding it was time to move on, Laura started working in student activities at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, FL. She was there for eight years tackling various roles that included assistant director and interim director of student involvement. Rapid growth at UCF allowed for a multitude of title and responsibility changes without leaving the institution. However, eventually Laura decided that she would like to work in another cap acity and transition into a faculty role. Thus she began coursework on her PhD in higher education administration at the University of Florida. Laura received an Alumni Fellowship that allowed her to pursue her degree full time. She conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Luis Ponjuan and worked on multiple grant supported research projects. There she honed her quantitative assessment skills, before determining to do a qualitative study for her dissertation. Methodology work with Dr. Mirka Kor o Ljungberg helped her to fine tune her qualitative analysis skills for her dissertation. Laura has published with Dr. Ponjuan and with her sister, Beth, a student affairs administrator. She has presented practical and research based sessions at numerous student affairs and higher education research conferences.