Jones, Ginny Marvetta
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Scholars in the field have asserted that the inclination to produce and engage scholarship is low among student affairs practitioners. However, very little is known about what the levels of scholarship engagement in student affairs actually are or what may be contributing to the perceived scantiness of scholarship activities among student affairs practitioners. Using a constructivist paradigm, the theoretical framework of symbolic interactionism, and Boyer’s model of scholarship, this manuscript style dissertation explored 22 student affairs practitioners’ graduate preparation and career experiences with scholarship. The purpose of that exploration was to discern what knowledge and skills practitioners might need to engage scholarship in their work and what support systems were necessary to their success in doing so. This exploration was focused on three distinct groups: (a) master’s-level practitioners, (b) doctoral-level practitioners, and (c) scholar-practitioners. Each group was studied independently and a corresponding manuscript for each study comprises the study’s purpose, design, and results. Additionally, a meta-synthesis of the three studies was conducted to look at the data and findings across each manuscript. The findings revealed several important implications for student affairs practitioners, supervisors, and graduate preparation programs. The findings suggest that, contrary to previous writings on this topic, practitioners may be engaging in scholarship, in various ways, as a part of their practice. Whether or not practitioners perceived scholarship was supported within their communities of practice had a significant impact on their engagement with it. However, there were factors that mediated the effects of communities of practice in which scholarship was not supported such as mentoring relationships and intrinsic motivation. Other findings in this dissertation support previous literature in support of collaboration and critical discourse between graduate preparation program faculty and practitioners.