As student affairs organizations have become more complex over time, there has been an increase in staff who work as “cross-organizational specialists” within these organizations. These staff typically work in the central office of a division of student affairs and have responsibilities which cut across the division, rather than focusing on the needs of a specific department. The most common of these positions is the “Assistant to” the Senior Student Affairs Officer (SSAO). This qualitative study sought to explore the work of those who work in these positions, using the Courageous Follower Model as a conceptual framework. This model posits five dimensions, with specific behaviors within each dimension, that demonstrate that an individual is a Courageous Follower; one who is an active contributor to their organization and its pursuit of the organization’s “common purpose.” The results of the study revealed that while most of the model applies to the work of the “Assistant to” there are some dimensions and associated behaviors which are not present to the same degree as others. The results also revealed that relationships are important to the work of staff in these positions. The relationship between the “Assistant to” and the SSAO is particularly important in facilitating their ability to demonstrate behaviors associated with othe Courageous Follower Model. Finally, the results provide support for possibly adding a new dimension to the model, as it relates to the work of the “Assistant to” in Student Affairs. Implications of this study address staff who work in this position or similar ones, SSAO and other senior leaders inside and outside of higher education, as well as individuals who may be interested in working as an “Assistant to.”
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2015. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisors: Darwin Hendel, Robert Poch. 1 computer file (PDF); xiv, 328 pages.
An Exploration of the Role of the "Assistant to" in Student Affairs Using the Courageous Follower Model.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.