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Women in student service roles: self-authorship and early career experiences

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Most research on the experience of young women in student service roles in higher education is focused on a reflection of the early career experiences of mid and senior level

Most research on the experience of young women in student service roles in higher education is focused on a reflection of the early career experiences of mid and senior level professionals. Young women enter the field with a set of expectations about the work and their early career experiences need to be uncovered in order to better understand what they expect from their roles in student services. This study focused on the experience of young women in student services and the dynamics they identify as being significant to their work experience. Six women in their mid-twenties working in student service roles participated in two dialogic interviews regarding their work experience. Findings from these women's stories suggest that women are aware of internal and external dynamics that shaped their work experience, and are engaged in their journey toward Self-Authorship along intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions. Specifically, the women actively chose their career path, looked for opportunities to develop their professional cache, and were impacted by their relationships with their supervisors and colleagues. The women are interested in their professional development in student services in higher education and are active in shaping the experience to meet their expectations. The findings suggest that to understand the experience of young women in student service roles in higher education, women should be asked to share their stories on their early career experiences, including interactions with supervisors and other professional colleagues. By representing these voices in the dialogue on the experience of young women in student service roles, the dynamics that shaped those experiences can be better understood.

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  • 2011