Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


New Professionals' Perspectives of Supervision in Student Affairs

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Robert DeBard

Second Advisor

J. Oliver Boyd-Barrett (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

William Knight (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Patricia Kubow (Committee Member)


The importance of effective supervision to increase productivity in the administration of student affairs motivated this dissertation. This study was designed to assess the perceptions of new professionals regarding the supervision practices encountered in their initial experience following graduation from their master's program. The sample featured alumni from 17 different institutions with professional preparation programs in college student personnel, higher education administration, or student affairs administration. From these institutions, 447 alumni participated and completed the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI-Observer).

One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the significant differences among the demographic information of new professionals and their supervisors. The results showed that male supervisors were rated as effective as female supervisors and African American supervisors were rated as effective as White supervisors at frequency of exemplary practice.

On a national level, when compared to the research collected online by Posner from 2005 to 2007 of various sectors, it appears from this study that increased attention on supervision within student affairs is necessary. Conclusions and recommendations focused on the importance of gender differences, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and the need for further exploration of this topic in future research.