Publication Date

Spring 5-11-2018

Document Type

Action research project: USD users only.

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


As the student population changes every academic year, it is essential for administrators within higher education institutions to adapt their leadership practice to the students they serve. Campus community dynamics, classroom settings, student centers, and roles within leadership positions are continuously evolving as the next generation of scholars are admitted and the previous generation graduates. For the same reason, this action research study highlights the importance of leadership adaptability among Student Affairs professionals, while bringing awareness to the Resident Assistant (RA) experience at the University of San Diego. Through co-curricular learning practices, the study formed supervising strategies to foster growth and authenticity within the RA role.

The primary objective of this action research study was to design a leadership framework as a supervisor to foster authenticity and personal growth among Resident Assistants by focusing on environmental impacts. Utilizing Alexander Astin’s Student Involvement theory (1984) and Input-Environment-Output Model (1993), I analyzed external factors that may impact RA engagement on an individual level. In conjunction, this project also combined Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (1993) to identify how those external factors may impact the RA experience and engagement in their role and the campus community.

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