Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




This study examined the aspirations of women student affairs administrators and their perceptions of the work climate in their respective organizations;A total of 300 women participated in a national survey. All of the participants were members of one of three national student personnel associations and were employed in two year through four year, public and private institutions of higher education in the United States. The Student Affairs Work Climate Survey, utilized in this study, consisted of five sections designed to gather information on aspirations to administrative positions within a university organization; perceptions of work climate characteristics; perceptions of organizational support for professional development and perceptions of work needs. The results were analyzed using frequence, means and t-tests;The results indicate that women do aspire to high level positions in higher education organizations, although they continue to perceive these positions as less attainable;In examining the existence of a relationship between women student affairs aspirations and their perceptions of the external work environment the six job characteristics; variety, autonomy, identity, feedback, friendship and dealing with others were perceived to be present in the work environment. However, there was a difference in the perceptions of the presence of some of these factors based on aspiration;The work organization was also assessed for perceptions of the organization's support for professional growth and development. The respondents reported a high propensity to leave the field of student affairs. The respondents also perceived their work environments to be rather weak in support of professional development. When perceptions of organizational support for professional development were compared regarding aspiration to top level administrative positions perceptual differences were found. In considering the position of president, women who aspired to this position perceived their work environment to be more supportive than women who do not aspire regarding; (1) encourages professional growth and development, (2) provides information regarding advancement opportunity. Women who aspire to the position of vice president of student affairs perceived their environments to be more supportive regarding; (1) encourages professional growth and development; (2) provides opportunity to attend professional conferences; (3) provides opportunity for professional development; (4) promotes development of mentoring relationships;The respondents placed growth needs, relatedness needs and existence needs as their order of priority in their work lives. This order did not change when aspiration was considered. However, women who aspire to be president place more emphasis on work needs than women who do not aspire.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Linda S. Kuk



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

119 pages