Skill development among student affairs professionals in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region III
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Student affairs practitioners develop a variety of skills in order to serve students and the institutions in which they work. This research study used a newly developed instrument to assess the perceived performance of a variety of skills and the methods that student affairs professionals use to develop those skills. The population included professional affiliates of Region III of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. Faculty members and those not practicing in student affairs were excluded from the surveyed population. The professional affiliates were identified as new professionals, mid-managers, and senior student affairs officers. The instrument identified 72 skill statements in ten categories: leadership; student contact; communication; personnel management; fiscal management; professional development; research, evaluation, and assessment; legal issues; technology, and diversity. For each skill category, fifteen learning methods were identified. A usable response rate of 61.6% was obtained. The data supported the stage theory of student affairs professional development for nine of the ten categories: senior student affairs officers rated their mastery of skills greater than did mid-managers, and mid-managers rated themselves higher than did new professionals. All groups rated their communication skills high. In several categories, there were statistically significant differences between the administrative levels. The exception was for the technology category. There was not a statistically significant difference between the groups. Professionals use a wide variety of methods to gain competence in the skill areas. The most common methods involved interaction with other practitioners and included mentoring, discussion with colleagues, and professional conference program sessions. Very few professionals have taken a sabbatical or on-line course to develop the identified skills. Several skill categories revealed differences between administrative levels, although the student contact category did not reveal any statistically significant differences.
National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
Roberts, Darby Michelle (2005). Skill development among student affairs professionals in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region III. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from