Date of Graduation

2004

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

National calls for reform in higher education have focused on increased accountability for student learning. The historical division of responsibility and expertise between academic affairs and student affairs has resulted in an academic-social divide, contributing to an estrangement of student affairs from higher education's central mission of student learning. Recognizing this gap, the student affairs profession has articulated characteristics and principles of student affairs practice that contribute to student learning. Many community colleges have sought a solution to the academic—social divide by orchestrating an organizational restructuring which results in the consolidation of responsibility for both academic and student affairs. To determine the prevalence of this practice at community colleges, a national survey of Chief Student Affairs Officers was conducted documenting the incidence of two organizational models, a consolidated model merging academic and student affairs units, and an autonomous model in which each unit maintains separate reporting relationships. The purpose of this study was to determine if Chief Student Affairs Officers at community colleges organized under a consolidated model demonstrate differences in their degree of adherence to the characteristics and principles of a learning oriented student affairs division as compared to Chief Student Affairs Officers organized under an autonomous model. Results of this quantitative study reveal significant differences between Chief Student Affairs Officers at community colleges in their degree of adherence to the principles of good practice for student affairs based on the model under which they are organized as well as adoption of philosophical model on which their student affairs practice is based. Several variables, including work experience, membership in student affairs professional associations, and awareness of student affairs literature, are examined as to their role in contributing to the results.

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