Date of Award



© 2021 Brittany Potter

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Aniello Trotta

Second Advisor

Laura Bertonazzi

Third Advisor

Allison Muise


Due to COVID-19, the state of higher education has been transformed, including the way student services like advising are offered on college campuses. More importantly, current literature on Generation Z students articulated that they need advisors who will build trust by implementing practices that go beyond prescriptive approaches. Therefore, it was imperative that this research examined how current undergraduate professional advisors work with Generation Z students and the practices that they use. Previous advising literature indicates there is a lack of scholarship surrounding the practices of professional advisors. With little information on professional advising practices and approaches, higher education leaders have limited approaches to adjust their advising models beyond the faculty advisor approach.

To fill research gaps and advocate for professional advisors, the purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the advising practices employed by undergraduate professional advisors who work at medium-sized, New England colleges and universities in alignment with Chickering’s (1969) student identity development theory. Demographic surveys and interview results established that professional advisors worked at institutions with a shared or centralized advising model which provided a unique platform to develop students by using cognitive, social, emotional, identity, and career-initiated practices. While specific practices aligned with Chickering’s (1969) psychosocial theory for student identity development, many of the participants felt that they needed better strategies to support students establishing identity. These findings suggest that professional advisors consistently interact with their students beyond prescriptive tasks. Future scholars should examine professional advisor experiences and practices to allow this advisor population to gain more recognition in the industry. Additionally, it is imperative to further investigate student perspectives about their experiences with professional advisors. Since COVID-19 has impacted students and educators, researchers should determine how students and professional advisors adjusted.


Ed.D. Dissertation