Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Discovering the Aspects of Crises, the Environment, and Self That Inform Entry-Level Residence Life Crisis Managers

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patrick Pauken, J.D. (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Kefa Otiso (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

John Buck (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Christy Galletta Horner (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Chris Willis (Committee Member)


Colleges and universities with residence halls on their campuses are home to a myriad of crises that can occur any day and at any time. These crises occur at a much greater frequency and are often the responsibility of entry-level residence life crisis managers that often have the least amount of crisis management experience on campus. The purpose of this study was to utilize a mixed-methods approach to discover the environmental influences, crisis characteristics, and aspects of self that inform how entry-level residence life crisis managers perform their crisis management duties. Eleven entry-level crisis managers from a large public university in the Midwestern United States provided written responses and participated in interviews to share how their response to crises were informed by the crisis itself, the environment, and themselves. The qualitative data were coded into 39 individual codes, which were brought together into four core categories of findings: 1) Characteristics of the Crisis; 2) Characteristics of the Environment; 3) Characteristics of the Crisis Manager; and 4) Coordinating with Others. The qualitative findings were reviewed by a panel of nominated experts in residence life crisis management from the Great Lakes Association of Colleges and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO) through a Delphi study, a multi-round survey where participants rated their level of agreement to the extent that each code does and should inform crisis management. The insights from the qualitative participants along with the points of agreement and disagreement from the expert panel carry implications for practitioners when it comes to training staff and working with crisis stakeholders, as well as for future researchers in terms of how residence life crisis management is discussed and researched moving forward.