Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Tim Atkinson

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Rick Zomer

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Lawence Davenport


Academic advising has been a vital aspect of the higher education setting for at least a century. Academic advising has evolved from the vocational development of young men to a full-time profession, especially after the creation of the National Academic Advising Association in 1979. Although the academic profession has developed through research, master’s programs, and courses designed to expand the field of academic advising, researchers still question whether full-time academic advising is a profession. Questions regarding the legitimacy of the work of academic advisors have led to miscommunication between upper administrators within the university. Universities have experienced a trend of professional academic advisors leaving the advising field within a few years, with advisors seeing academic advising as a stepping-stone and limited advancement opportunities. This doctoral study used a phenomenological approach that examined the lived experiences of eight full-time professional academic advisors to understand their experiences within the advising field. This study utilized Herzberg’s motivational hygiene factors, which used semistructured interviews that reviewed work, achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement (motivators), and hygiene factors that focus on company and administrative policies, supervision, salary, interpersonal relations, and working conditions. The participants worked at midsized universities. The study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic and, therefore, utilized a videoconferencing tool to conduct the interviews. The lack of salary and advancement opportunities caused some advisors to consider leaving their university or advising field altogether. Other concerns were needing more support from upper administrators and inconsistent relationships with faculty advisors. One positive attribute of this study was that academic advisors had great relationships with their full-time academic advising colleagues and displayed autonomy when constructing their schedules and work environment.

iv Upper administrators should discuss ways to help create career pathways for academic advisors to retain and limit attrition within advising departments. Moreover, upper administrators can provide a space for academic advisors to voice their concerns and have a say in the policies governing their institutions. Keywords: midsize institution, National Academic Advising Association, higher education, vocational development, profession, full-time academic advising

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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