Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Cynthia Tomovic

Committee Member

Petros Kastsioloudis

Committee Member

Ellen Neufeldt


Mid-level managers are the largest administrative group, yet the most professionally underdeveloped, in the organizational structure on college campuses. Mid-level managers are responsible for navigating and communicating to those both above and below them in the organization. The challenge in this three-part mixed methods study was to determine the impact of a short-term training intervention on mid-level manager self-efficacy. Specifically, the training intervention was a week-long residential professional development Institute which focused on the following areas: free speech, cultural competency, budgeting and strategic planning, collaboration and partnership, and leading/managing/followership-navigating the political landscape. In the first, a quantitative phase, secondary data analysis was conducted on the Institute’s post survey results of 63 participants. The second qualitative phase included follow-up structured interviews designed to assess participants’ belief that the Institute helped to improve their ability as mid-level managers. In the third, a quantitative phase, an ad hoc survey was administered and analyzed to determine the influence of the Institute on participants’ self-efficacy. A total of 12 individuals (20%) responded for participation in the structured interviews and ad hoc surveys. Descriptive statistics were used to report findings from the structured interviews and coded using NVIVO software. Themes were clustered and coded to develop a model of the skills, relationships, and dispositions necessary for participants to improve their self-efficacy in their roles as mid-level managers at their respective institutions. The results indicated that it is essential that mid-level manager develop specialized skills, relationships, and dispositions if they are to create greater clarity in their roles, become more solution focused, and improve communications that allow them to make more meaningful contributions to the field of student affairs. Furthermore, educational level was found to correlate with mid-level manager self-efficacy. Overall, results suggest that mid-level managers showed a significant increase in self-efficacy, over time, after having attended the Institute.


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