Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Casey Reason

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Jason Morris

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Mark McCallon


While research has been conducted exploring the competencies needed for student affairs work, little is known about the perception of new professionals regarding their socialization into the field. This phenomenological study explores the perception of 10 new student affairs professionals on how the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the American College Personnel Association Values, Philosophy and History professional competency aided their social transition into student affairs. Using Weidman et al.’s (2001) graduate socialization theoretical framework, the study revealed three key findings: (a) for new student affairs professionals, the socialization process begins well before beginning a graduate program; (b) the role of student affairs supervisors, mentors, and student affairs staff is crucial to the successful transition and socialization of new student affairs professionals; and (c) the importance of authenticity and wellness for the successful socialization and transition into the field of student affairs. Among the three key findings, three themes emerged: (a) their socialization impacted their approach to serving students, (b) their socialization influenced their perception of the importance of experiential learning, and (c) their socialization emphasized that while higher education may not have been built with diverse populations in mind, they are finding ways to serve diverse students.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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