Term of Award

Fall 2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Brenda Marina

Committee Member 1

Antonio Gutierrez

Committee Member 2

Daniel Calhoun


This study examines the perceived competencies and the perceived self-awareness of student affairs practitioners. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between the two variables of competencies and self-awareness. The overarching research question for this study was: What is the relationship between self-awareness and perceived competencies for student affairs practitioners? This question was followed by two sub questions: To what degree, if any, does experience in the field as a student affairs practitioner predict one’s self-awareness of professional competencies? To what degree, if any, does job level/position in the field as a student affairs practitioner predict one’s self-awareness of professional competencies?

Utilizing the competencies identified in the joint publication on student affairs competencies produced in 2015 by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), a descriptive quantitative survey was administered. The survey was sent to student affairs practitioners holding membership in either ACPA or NASPA and who reported residing in Georgia or a state contiguous to Georgia; 2,492 individuals received the survey, some of whom might have overlapped between the two organizations. Of the 2,492 surveys distributed, 174 individuals responded, allowing the data to produce significant results.

The results were analyzed using SPSS. Overall, an inverse relationship exists between the two variables. The results suggest that professionals with less experience and with an entry-level classification have fewer self-perceived competencies and greater self-awareness. Whereas, those with more experience and a mid to senior-level classification have greater self-perceived competencies and less perceived self-awareness.

Based on the results, the implications for graduate preparation programs, professional development opportunities, professional associations, supervisors, and human resource directors are presented, as this study could be beneficial in all of these areas. Finally, recommendations for further research are provided for individuals who are motivated to continue the conversation about competencies and self-awareness beyond what is presented in this research study.

Research Data and Supplementary Material