Experiences of women's center professionals
Riggle, Colleen Marie
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Despite the over half-century history of campus-based women’s centers, little research has investigated the work experiences of directors of such centers. This qualitative study used narrative analysis to investigate the work experiences of women’s center professionals in a director role in a student affairs division. Bolman and Deal’s (2013) Four Framework Approach to leadership provided the conceptual framework to explore the experiences of campus-based women’s center professionals. Three themes emerged from the participants’ stories: program development, student interactions, and staff size. Program development was central to participants’ role by offering educational programs and support to women students. Students who identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer), feminist, and student organizations, were overwhelmingly significant to the work experience of women’s center professionals. Almost all participants shared a small staff size experience as common. Participants with varying personal demographics and years of student affairs experience in different types of institutions all shared stories of successful, salient, and challenging experiences. Finally, the study found that some but not all participants engaged in positive self-care practices in an effort to establish a sustainable work/life balance.