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Supporting Adopted College Students: Developing Student-Ready Student Affairs Professionals

Mittereder, Joanna (2023) Supporting Adopted College Students: Developing Student-Ready Student Affairs Professionals. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Students who were adopted are a unique and underserved identity group on college campuses who experience challenges, have complex needs, and can benefit from targeted support. Their lived experiences and developmental paths differ from their nonadopted peers and need to be understood to support them. Student affairs staff at most institutions are unaware of the complex developmental path and microaggressions experienced by adopted students and are underprepared to serve them. Using improvement science methodology, an education session focusing on seven core issues experienced by adoptees was developed and presented to residence life staff at Success State University. Qualitative and quantitative data in a pretest-posttest design were collected to evaluate how the session would impact staff knowledge and practice. Additional qualitative data were collected via follow up semi-structured interviews with volunteer participants from the session. Four key themes emerged from the data. A single education session can provide an awareness of adopted students as an identity group, motivate staff to want to learn more, and increase their desire to make practice changes in support of adopted students; however, more than a single education session is needed for staff to confidently create and implement practice strategies. An examination of the findings, using McNair et al. (2022)’s guiding principles, demonstrated there are opportunities for student affairs staff to become student-ready to serve adopted students. The improvement project has implications for student affairs professional education, provides opportunities for innovation in student affairs practice, and points to a need for more strength-based research focused on young adult adoptees.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mittereder, Joannajom190@pitt.edujom190
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMeans, Darrisdrm122@pitt.edudrm122
Committee MemberKerr, Mary Margaretmmkerr@pitt,edummkerr
Committee MemberNovy, Mariannemnovy@pitt.edumnovy
Date: 21 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 July 2023
Approval Date: 21 September 2023
Submission Date: 3 August 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 113
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: student affairs, supporting adopted students, adopted students, young adult adoptees, adoption identity, adopted college students
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 20:49
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 20:49


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