A Study Of Competencies Perceived To Be Important By Professionals In Entry-level Positions Within College Student Affairs

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Coffey, Christa
competencies; competency; student affairs; student personnel services; skills; university; college; entry-level
thesis / dissertation description
The researcher utilized the 2007 American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Steering Committee on Professional Competencies report, Professional Competencies, to determine the importance of a set of competencies for work in entry-level student affairs positions. The researcher also studied whether there were any differences in importance of these competencies based on functional area (e.g., residence life/housing, student activities) and institutional type (i.e., four-year public and four-year private). Via an online questionnaire, the researcher sent the list of competencies to a sample of 970 members of ACPA who were self-selected as entry-level members and received 224 usable responses. Of the 75 individual competency items studied, 66 were found to be, minimally, 'important' for entry-level positions overall, thus reinforcing the fact that entry-level practitioners need a wide array of competencies to perform the responsibilities within their positions. Competencies related to advising and helping others, including students and colleagues, were rated the highest, while those related to the legal foundations of the field were rated the lowest, yet still at least 'somewhat important.' Several significant differences were found between groups within the studied demographic variables and the degree of importance of the competencies. Specifically, there were very few significant differences in the degree of importance of competencies based on respondent institutional type. Compared to other demographic items, functional area by far indicated the most significant differences between groups.