Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Ryan E. Gildersleeve, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bruce Uhrmacher

Third Advisor

Sam Museus


Educational criticism and connoisseurship, Higher education, Leadership, Qualitative research, Senior student affairs officers, Social justice


As the highest ranking administrators in divisions of student affairs, Senior Student Affairs Officers (SSAOs) have the substantial opportunity to perform leadership in a manner which realizes social justice processes and goals. Framed by critical postmodernism (Tierney & Rhoads, 1993), this study uses educational criticism and connoisseurship (Eisner, 1976, 1998, 2002) to document the social justice leadership practices of two SSAOs. In depth narratives give rich descriptions of the nuances of social justice leadership as enacted by the SSAOs. Critical interpretation and evaluation of these practices is woven throughout the study. Themes relevant for the field of higher education in student affairs are then presented. Stemming from the narratives, informed questions are offered which can be used to frame further research related to the topic of social justice leadership praxis in higher education. Additionally, implications for SSAO social justice leadership are offered, including the need for better training and the intentional resistance to an evolving neoliberal technocratism adversely impacting social justice aspirations in higher education.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Ryan P. Barone


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

285 p.


Higher education, Higher education administration, Educational leadership