Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2018

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies


The overall purpose of this study was to increase collaboration across USD’s decentralized graduate admission departments through the approach of caring leadership (Uusiautti, 2013). The study was guided by the overarching question: How can I use caring leadership (Uusiautti, 2013) within academic affairs to encourage effective collaboration and understanding and foster a sense of community across departments? It was also guided by the sub-questions: Does gender impact the practices of collaboration and exchange of ideas within decentralized admission offices? If so, how does the current culture and structure of USD’s graduate admission offices aid/impede the practice of caring leadership (Uusiautti, 2013) across departments when considering intersecting identities? Data was collected through surveys, evaluations, and reflections with the intention of promoting understanding, encouraging the exchange of ideas, and developing a sense of community. As a result of this study, the Office of Graduate Admissions will continue to foster a stronger sense of community and increase in-person communication between the decentralized admission offices, leading to a better understanding of departmental needs and responsibilities while strengthening cross-departmental efforts to better serve prospective students.

Ultimately, this project is aimed at helping me improve my professional practice as a higher education administrator.