Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Donald R. LaMagdeleine

Second Advisor

Kathleen M. Boyle

Third Advisor

John D. Holst


Researchers have explored the issue of social class in higher education through the experiences of students and faculty, but have not yet analyzed the experiences of student affairs staff. Past researchers have conflated or ignored issues of race in studies on class, and rarely acknowledge gender as a variable in the classed experience. Student affairs professionals, while part of a field that values diversity and social justice, do not frequently raise class as an area of importance within graduate preparation programs or professional associations. The field is feminized and less valued in the academy, making class a relevant topic for further study. Using an intersectional approach, this study explores the lived experiences of White women who work in student affairs settings in higher education who also come from working class origins. The study identifies the ways in which institutional and interpersonal forces construct class identities, and how race and gender influence class experiences. Findings suggest class identities of origin impact mobility within the student affairs field, conceptions of labor and work, and relationships at home. Further, professional associations may unwittingly recreate rather than transform class distinctions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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