Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


Collaborative Relationships Between Faculty and Student Affairs Professionals: A Case Study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Maureen Wilson (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Stephen Langendorfer (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Michael Coomes (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Ellen Broido (Committee Member)


In this constructivist collective case study, the collaborative relationships of faculty and student affairs professionals co-teaching were examined. Bowling Green State University was selected as the site, and four pairs of co-instructors for BGSU1000, a first year seminar, each with a faculty member and a student affairs professional, were the participants. A Vygotskian framework was used to consider the individual by herself or himself, and in interaction with a partner. An individual interview was conducted with each participant, was followed by an interview with each pair, and concluded with a final individual interview with each participant. Participants explained that prior relationships, common values, common goals, common backgrounds and experiences, and common styles promoted the development of their collaboration and relationships. Participants said that establishing comfort and trust was also important. Participants functioned as colleagues, mentors-mentees, family, and friends. Participants' roles were complex and situational and communication affected how their relationships and collaboration functioned. Communication included assumptions, discussion, overlap, and compartmentalization. Participants noted that their relationships impacted their collaboration and vice versa and that time also influenced this interaction. Most participants believed they were able to achieve more in partnership than they would have been able to accomplish individually. Ultimately, prior relationships, commonalities (in values, goals, background experiences, and personality styles), and developing comfort and trust were important to good collaboration. Roles were more complex and situational than expected. Those who are responsible for building or fostering collaborative relationships should note that partnerships should be intentionally developed and supported.