Committed and Engaged: A Mixed Method Phenomenological Study of the Perceived Roles, Responsibilities, and Contributions of Professional Support Personnel in Higher Education


  • Jami S. Rush University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Dianne F. Olivier University of Louisiana at Lafayette


staff, professional staff, work engagement, higher education


This is a mixed methods study exploring the experiences and perceptions of professional support personnel in higher education regarding their roles, responsibilities, and contributions to their institutions. A combination of surveys and interviews of current professional support personnel examined their job demands, job resources available to them, level of work engagement, and their participation in organizational citizenship behaviors. The major findings of this study show professional support personnel are highly engaged in their jobs and perceived their contributions to their institutions as positive. While professional support personnel indicated participation in organizational citizenship behaviors, further analysis showed the roles and responsibilities of professional support personnel in higher education are inherently comprised of organizational citizenship behaviors and thus are in-role behaviors. In contradiction to existing research, professional support staff described “other duties as assigned” as fun and a welcomed opportunity for professional development and networking.

Author Biographies

  • Jami S. Rush, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
    Associate Director, The Learning Center
  • Dianne F. Olivier, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
    Professor, Educational Foundations and Leadership


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Rayma Harchar Outstanding Research Paper Award