Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Hytten, Kathy


In this study, I explored critical approaches to social justice in student affairs. I sought to understand how student affairs administrators understand and communicate about social justice. Furthermore, I studied how a critical paradigm informs the work of student affairs practitioners in their everyday lives, and what we might learn from the experiences of professionals who ground their work in such paradigms. This was a qualitative study, in which I used snowball sampling as the method for recruiting participants. I conducted semi structured interviews with 14 full time student affairs administrators, who I refer to as critically-oriented student affairs administrators. Consistent with critical theory, I employ a language of critique and a language of possibility in this dissertation. The findings in this study suggest that there is much work to be done in more productively addressing social justice in student affairs. The lived experiences the participants in this study shared provide insight into living out critical commitments to social justice in the student affairs field. Furthermore, there is space in the student affairs field for more in-depth analysis and consideration for what it means to be "critical" in the student affairs profession.




This dissertation is only available for download to the SIUC community. Current SIUC affiliates may also access this paper off campus by searching Dissertations & Theses @ Southern Illinois University Carbondale from ProQuest. Others should contact the interlibrary loan department of your local library or contact ProQuest's Dissertation Express service.