Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

Phyllis McClusky-Titus


In this interview study, I examine how student affairs administration (SAA) works at rural community colleges as well as how rural senior student affairs officers (SSAOs) function in their leadership roles. The study purports to understand student affairs in the context of “rurality,” or what it means to be rural. Two primary research questions guide the study. First, how do rural community colleges serve their students? Second, what qualities are needed to lead student affairs at rural community colleges? I employed a semi-structured interview approach to answer these questions, focusing on the experiences of SSAOs at rural community colleges across the Midwest. The rural sociological theory of “urbanormativity” informs my motivation for the study, focusing on the attention and resource disparities between metropolitan and rural community colleges.The findings indicate that rural community colleges serve their students through a community-informed understanding of their colleges’ missions. Leadership in student affairs at rural community colleges requires flexibility and an understanding of the rural condition and how rurality affects local student populations.


Imported from Estill_ilstu_0092E_12074.pdf


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