Department of Educational Administration


First Advisor

Barbara LaCost

Date of this Version


Document Type



Beavers, J. (2016). Leadership perspectives of chief student affairs officers: An exploratory study. University of Nebraska. Retrieved from UNL Digital Commons (Dissertation).


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Barbara Y. LaCost. Lincoln, Nebraska: October , 2016

Copyright (c) 2016 Jeffrey D. Beavers


Leadership in student affairs continues to be a challenging enterprise for universities. Colleges are expected to help students succeed while providing for abundant needs through graduation. Chief student affairs officers have increasing demands of students and faculty amid decreased funds. This exploratory study took an in-depth look at the leadership perspectives of 19 chief student affairs officers at 4-year, public universities across the Midwest. The researcher sought responses on common leadership perspectives, challenges faced, and opportunities encountered. The three emerging themes were elements that inform leadership, knowledge and skills, and mindful leadership outlook. These emergent themes formed the basis for a Student Affairs Leadership Model of best practices that may provide a basis for future research.

Advisor: Barbara Y. LaCost