|dc.description.abstract||The changing higher education landscape has brought increasing concern about student safety, mental illness, rising college costs, and growing expectations from diverse student populations (Kuk, Banning, & Amey, 2011). These shifts require well-prepared professionals able to meet these demands effectively and efficiently. New professionals in student affairs are usually the front-line staff members responsible for providing programs, services, and initiatives to comply with student expectations and institutional priorities in these areas (Davis Barham & Winston, 2006). New professionals consistently report dissatisfaction or disappointment with their supervisory experiences and their entrance into positions and institutions. This dissatisfaction often contributes to the high attrition rate from the field, currently estimated to be 20-40% within the first six years (Tull, Hirt, & Saunders, 2009). The literature identifies supervision as a key to socializing and retaining new professionals in the student affairs field.
The purpose of this study was to explore how supervisors in student affairs narrate their experiences of supervising new professionals in positions at colleges and universities. Through analyzing the narratives of supervisors, the goal of the study was to better understand the experiences and circumstances that supervisors believe shape the way they work with and socialize new professionals to their positions and to the profession.
People live and make meaning of their experiences through the telling and retelling of stories. Utilizing narrative inquiry methodology, data were obtained through in-depth, phenomenological interviews of 13 supervisors of new professionals and were analyzed using narrative analysis and thematic methods. Three conceptual metaphors of supervision--mentoring, shepherding, and teaching--were interpreted from participants’ stories recounting their experiences of supervising new professionals. In addition, a visual model was developed to illustrate the relationships between this study’s three key thematic findings related to the context, evaluation, and strategies of supervision. Implications for master’s-level graduate preparation programs and practice and recommendations for future research are discussed.||