Qualitative Examination of Women Student Affairs Professionals’ Perceptions of Job Satisfaction in Louisiana Public Higher Education Institutions
Keywords:, job satisfaction, women student affairs professionals, sense of value, trust, higher education
One of the most impacted areas in higher education is the field of student affairs (Lynch, 2017). While job satisfaction is problematic in higher education; only 1% of professionals are “extremely satisfied” with their job, giving the field a much lower overall satisfaction level than many other occupations (Kinman & Wray, 2014). Additionally, women are experiencing job dissatisfaction at the highest rates (Beeny et al., 2005) and student affairs is a field primarily occupied by women (MacAlpine, 2022). Research shows one of the more dramatic results of job satisfaction is when dissatisfaction leads to burnout (Kahill, 2007). Women in student affairs are rapidly leaving the field due to job dissatisfaction (Bender, 2009). The authors share findings from a phenomenological qualitative research study designed to assess job satisfaction of women student affairs professionals in entry, mid, and senior level higher education positions relating to job satisfaction and leadership, motivation, productivity, and burnout. The overarching research question is, What are the perceptions of women student affairs professionals in Louisiana public higher education institutions regarding job satisfaction in relation to leadership, motivation, productivity, and burnout? Data analyses resulted in identification of six major findings relating to higher sense of value, high levels of trust, senior-level satisfaction, expectations not aligned with compensation, student impact as a high motivator, and impact of crises on burnout among women student affairs professionals in Louisiana higher education institutions. The finding implications are shared from theory, practice, and future research perspectives, as well as implications for leadership and practice.
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