The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Steven McCullar

Second Advisor

Frances Kayona

Third Advisor

Michael Mills

Fourth Advisor

Jodi Kuznia

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

student affairs, working mothers, work-life balance



The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how mothers, working as mid-level student affairs professionals, perceive and navigate their dual roles at work and in the home. This study asked the following: how does the participant’s sense of identity, relational style, adaptive style, and drive and motivation shape her work-life balance decisions and practices? What personal strategies are these working mothers using as they respond to the demands of the dual roles of professional and parent? Using a basic qualitative research design, I explored the work-life experiences of eight female student affairs professionals through participant interviews. Data were coded and analyzed from the life course perspective, a theoretical framework that has identified four distinct factors found to be critical markers for shaping adult gender role choices and decisions: sense of identity, relational style, adaptive style, and personal drive and motivation (Giele, 2008). Several major findings emerged from the study. First, early life experiences significantly impacted the personal identity, relational style, drive and motivation, and adaptive style of the women participating in the study. Second, these four factors directly impact life course decisions and trajectory of mothers working as Student Affairs professionals. Finally, these four factors exert significant influence on the strategies employed by these women to promote work-life balance.



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