Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Donna Talbot

Second Advisor

Dr. Regina Garza Mitchell

Third Advisor

Dr. Ric Unerhile


Higher education, student affairs, community college, socialization, graduate preparation


This qualitative study explores the experiences of new student affairs professionals who have begun their careers at community colleges. Research in the field of higher education has examined the preparation and socialization of new professionals within the field of higher education student affairs. However, this body of research has primarily focused on the experiences of those who go on to work in four-year colleges and universities. Little has been examined regarding those who graduate from these programs and whose first professional role is in a community college setting.

Through this phenomenological inquiry, the participants share rich details about their socialization and transition experiences as new student affairs professionals in a community college. The four areas concerning the participants’ experiences that have emerged from this research include how participants find entry into the field of higher education and their first professional role at a community college, how they experience their work environments and serving community college students, and how they describe the student affairs viewpoint within the community college setting. The findings from this research suggests that graduate preparation programs and community college student affairs units can improve the preparation and socialization for this segment of new professionals.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access