Fitzer, Jason Richard
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Nine student affairs professionals shared stories of working with students of color in various higher education environments, and the challenges associated with their work. Critical race theory was used as the theoretical framework for this study, along with a narrative inquiry methodology. Participants shared their stories through two interviews, and the sharing of an artifact that symbolized their approach to working with students of color. The stories shared by the participants revealed insight about how they approached their work with students of color and what informed their approaches. The various approaches shared by the participants included attending student events and advocating for students to senior administrators. Mentoring and supporting relationships proved to be significant to the majority of participants in the study, offering guidance to the participant’s approaches. These relationships also helped the participants decide to pursue careers in student affairs. The findings of this study suggest that narratives can lead to a greater understanding of how student professionals of color work to support students of color within their institutional environments. Utilizing their narratives, senior university administrators can make time for student affairs professionals to share their stories, to better understand their identities and needs as they work with students of color. Professionals of color need support, which can be provided through communities composed of other professionals of color. Further, it is important for White student affairs professionals to be engaged in supporting professionals of color in the dismantling oppression. White professionals must also be equipped to engage with students of color. The role of higher education and student affairs graduate programs should also be explored as an area for future research, to consider different ways that student affairs professionals can receive knowledge and skills to support them in their work with students of color.