First Advisor

Tucker, Gardiner

First Committee Member

Lahman, Maria K.

Second Committee Member

Wesley, Cindy

Third Committee Member

Kimball, Michael J.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Document Type


Date Created



College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Leadership Policy and Development: Higher Education and P-12 Education, LPD Student Work


This qualitative study explores the experiences of mid-level higher education professionals navigating workplace changes post-Coronavirus-19 Pandemic and during the subsequent Great Resignation. The study, framed by the theory of ambiguous loss to interpret the impacts of unresolved losses, underscores the importance of equipping higher education to adapt to ongoing transitions. To capture these nuanced dynamics, data were collected through individual interviews and participant photography using photo-narrative methodology. Eight participants, all mid-level student affairs professionals employed at a public research university in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States, completed a total of 15 interviews and submitted 53 photos for the study. The data were analyzed using narrative, thematic, and symbolic methods. Findings revealed four key themes: compensation challenges, the dynamics of coworker relationships, the need for flexibility in role management, and the impact of the office environment on well-being. These themes highlight the complexity of workplace transitions, marked by both challenges and opportunities for growth. The photo-narrative approach effectively captured these experiences, offering rich insights into the participants' professional journeys. The study highlights the resilience of higher education professionals and suggests the necessity of supportive policies and practices that acknowledge their unique workplace experiences.

Abstract Format



279 pages

Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.