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

Michael Mills

Third Advisor

Krista Soria

Fourth Advisor

Evan Choi

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

College student mental health; Gatekeeper training; Faculty role with student with mental health concerns; Faculty referral intentions; Theory of Planned Behavior



College students’ mental health has become a crucial issue in recent years after the violent acts at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech University, and Northern Illinois University (Kraft, 2011). The National College Health Assessment conducted by the American College Health Association found that one in twelve college students reported having seriously considered suicide in the previous 12 months (American College Health Association, 2014). The purpose of this quantitative study was to identify belief-based predictors of faculty members’ intentions to refer students with mental health concerns to a mental health professional. The participants were N = 149 faculty members at a single, Midwestern public university. The participants completed a Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) questionnaire regarding referral-related beliefs and intentions. Data collected were analyzed using multiple linear regressions to determine if the independent variables contributed to the statistical prediction of the intention to refer students. The findings of the study revealed faculty members’ attitudes, subjective norms, prior knowledge of mental health concerns, and academic discipline (math and computer science disciplines) were significant predictors of intentions to refer students with mental health concerns. Determining these predictors assist gatekeeper trainers to design curricula that will increase the likelihood of faculty to refer students with mental health concerns. Identifying and connecting students to needed mental health services will improve campus communities.



This journey would not have been possible without significant contributions and support from others in my life. Foremost, I would like to thank my advisor and chair Dr. Steven McCullar for his continuous guidance, insight, and encouragement. His wisdom and enthusiasm for higher education helped me expand my knowledge and passion as a higher education professional, which will influence my practice for years to come.

Special thanks to committee member Dr. Evan Choi for your caring manner and data analysis support. Thank you also to committee members Dr. Michael Mills and Dr. Krista Soria for your time, constructive feedback, and support.

I am deeply grateful for the support, prayers, and love from all my family. Thanks to my parents, James and Marilee, for modeling hard work, commitment, and valuing education for our family. Dad, although you are no longer physically here, I felt your loving, proud, and strong presence as I completed this journey. To Mom, Peggy, Keith, Jason, and Aimee thank you for the loving support, prayers, kind words, and believing in me. The drive back and forth from St. Cloud was bearable because I talked to each of you on the phone and received encouragement.

To my children, Aydan and Addison, thank you for your love and understanding when I had to be gone for classes. Your excitement of counting down the number of weekends I had left of classes kept me pushing forward, even when it was truly difficult. Finally, and most importantly I am forever grateful to my husband Ryan. You have remained loyal even in times of absences and exhaustion. Without your enduring love, commitment, and encouragement this accomplishment would not have occurred. I could not have asked for a better partner, father to my children, or best friend.



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