Understanding the diagnosis phenomenon of new professionals in student affairs
Davis, Janice Kathleen
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This study examines the factors contributing to the ways new professionals diagnose their needs in a work environment in order to better serve this population and the profession in general. The purpose is to gain an advantage in understanding the experience of new professionals and add to the literature relating to this topic. As a means to fulfill these purposes, the author created two questions for research and a mixed-design methodology to answer them. Presently there is a noticeable gulf in literature regarding supervision of new professionals, which leads to a deficiency in understanding their experiences and needs. This study presents information that will be useful in enhancing the experiences of new professionals. Findings from this study will also become part of a small body of knowledge pertaining to the diagnosis phenomenon that exists with new professionals. Answering the two research questions began with the creation of the Developmental Needs Inventory that includes (a) a Skill Set Form which measures proficiency and training level on critical skills, (b) a Reflection Form which measures the level of self-diagnosis, and (c) the Myers Briggs Type Indicator which measures individual cognitive and personality style. Collected data was analyzed using multiple regression, correlation studies, and descriptive statistics. Results also show that new professionals lack the ability to diagnose their needs. Results also show that new professionals lack the training and necessary proficiency in skill areas deemed as critical to professional success. As such, findings support the premise that alteration of current supervision practice may benefit new professionals, their supervisors, and the institutions for which they work. This document recommends a model for professional development that will assist supervisors in constructing a professional development curriculum to meet the individual needs of staff. This document also addresses implications for faculty, administrators, and new professionals and recommends areas for future research.