Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Donna Talbot

Second Advisor

Dr. James M. Croteau

Third Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen


Special issues of the major student affairs journals recently have reflected on the scholarship of the profession (Blimling, 2001; Roper, 2002). The focus of these recent reflections, as well as prior publications on student affairs scholarship (e.g., Davis & Liddell, 1997; Engstrom, 1999; Hunter, 1986; Hunter & Kuh, 1987), largely has been on mentoring research, describing scholarship trends, critiquing existing patterns, and/or envisioning the shape of future scholarship. While the profession of student affairs acknowledges the critical need to promote scholarship and the dissemination of information, little has actually been done to help people get there. Only a few articles have focused on the training of scholars in student affairs and even less on training in a crucial aspect of scholarship--writing for publication.

As I examined literature relevant to learning to write for publication, there was a key distinction in the ideas about writing that were discussed: a technical or content-focused aspect and a social-psychological or process-focused aspect. The technical aspects are easier to identify, as these are the concrete steps taught in most college writing courses. The social-psychological aspects of writing include the less tangible components focused on the process of thinking and creating, on the more personal and passionate aspects of scholarly writing. This includes how the professional identifies as a writer, what motivates her or him to write, and how one feels about one's writing and the process of writing.

To better understand the how of teaching writing to doctoral students, this study explored how student affairs professionals who publish in the field describe their development as writers, their scholarly writing process, and whether/how their identity affects their scholarly art. Sixteen well-published student affairs professionals were interviewed about their writing development and process.

The resulting transcripts were analyzed using a phenomenological procedure to describe the lived experience. Seven essential themes were identified in this study: Knowing One's Process, Persisting, Situating the Self with Feedback, Purposeful Voice, Voicing Purpose, Preparing the Future, and In Being with Others. Implications are explored for the student affairs profession in regard to teaching and future research.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access