Exploring the supervision experiences of student affairs mid-level leaders in Catholic higher education

Dorothy Ann Wenzel, Fordham University


This qualitative study examined the supervision experiences of 17 student affairs department directors at six Catholic colleges and universities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The study focused on the supervision and management skills needed by mid-level managers, and probed if and how they acquired those skills. The study also focused on the area of Catholic mission to ascertain the participants' perceived competency in training and supervising their staff members to incorporate the Catholic mission into their student affairs practice. In regard to learning their supervision skills, the participants reported learning by experience and by observing past supervisors. Most of the participants received little to no formal training. Participants indicated that they felt more competent in their supervisory role now compared to when they first started as supervisors. In regard to the Catholic mission of the institution, participants reported having a good understanding of and a deep personal connection to the Catholic mission. They reported that it was important to them that their staff members incorporate Catholic mission into their work. In their self-evaluation of their training and supervision of staff members on the Catholic mission, most participants indicated that they could be doing more in these areas. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations are offered to enhance how department directors learn to supervise in general as well as how they learn to train and supervise their staff members to incorporate Catholic mission into their work with students.

Subject Area

Higher Education Administration|Educational leadership|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Wenzel, Dorothy Ann, "Exploring the supervision experiences of student affairs mid-level leaders in Catholic higher education" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3561733.