Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


The Gendered Nature of Student Affairs: Issues of Gender Equity in Student Affairs Professional Associations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Dafina-Lazarus Stewart (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Ruben Viramontez Anguiano (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Michael D. Coomes (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Robert DeBard (Committee Member)


This study examined the gendered nature of the student affairs profession by investigating how three student affairs professional associations, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), ACPA: College Student Educators International, and the Association of College and University Housing Officers International (ACUHO-I) handled issues of gender equity. The founding of each association was reviewed using archival information from the National Student Affairs Archives. After a review of the archival data, a profile was created for each of the three associations. Interviews were conducted with 13 participants who were members of one or more of the associations and had served in an elected or appointed leadership position. The participants provided insight into the current issues of gender equity faced in the associations. The study employed a constructivist epistemology featuring the co-construction of knowledge. Thus, the archival data for each of the associations and the participants’ interview data were considered in the process of data analysis and interpretation. The following categories emerged from the analysis of the interview data: gender equity, the messages received about gender, delegation of roles and responsibilities, policies and procedures used within the organizations, and perceptions of the symbols, images and artifacts used within each association. Implications for practice related to the development of organizational culture, maintaining the history of student affairs associations, and role modeling for undergraduate students are presented