From Frustrated to Empowered: Exploring the Process of How Mid-Level Student Affairs Professionals Make Meaning of the Responsibility for Assessing Student Learning Outcomes




Baum, Evan

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This dissertation explored the process by which ten mid-level student affairs professionals at ten different large public universities make meaning of their responsibilities for assessing student learning outcomes. The study was informed by literature from a diverse range of disciplines, including psychology, management, sociology, and education, which provided a foundation for studying the experiences of participants at cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal levels. This study utilized grounded theory for its methodology, which guided the development of sampling criteria, data collection protocols, and data analysis procedures. Participants in the study were identified by themselves or a colleague as being “superb” at fulfilling their responsibilities for assessing student learning outcomes in a programmatic functional area within student affairs. After being recruited, participants were interviewed, and subsequently kept a reflective journal over an eight-week period. Following the final submission of their journal to the researcher, participants were interviewed again to collect additional data and also to member-check preliminary findings.



Higher education administration, Health education, Assessment, Meaning making, Mid-level, Student affairs, Student learning outcomes