Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Elizabeth Broughton, Ed.D., Chair

Committee Member

William Price, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jaclynn Tracy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mary E. Vielhaber, Ph.D.


This study started with the simple proposition that it would be useful to forecast the competencies that will be required for chief housing officers in the future. Housing and residence life is a relatively young profession and began with the rise of what is commonly understood to be college personnel work and now known as student affairs.

Student affairs as a profession within higher education began to gain recognition in the 1940s. The identification of governing ethics, standards and competencies gained momentum and clarification in the succeeding year. Housing and residence life as part of the student affairs enterprise was identified early in the profession's history. Housing and residence life's distinct nature became more apparent with expansion of institutional enrollments driving the need for more university-controlled housing stock.

Identifying the knowledge, skills, and abilities for the housing and residence life profession started to gather momentum in the 1980s. These efforts came out of the observed differences between housing and residence life and other areas of student affairs and is supported in the professional literature. Housing and residence life practitioners were guided by professional standards associated with student affairs, but also increasingly by requirements coming from individual institutions, legislation and regulation. Furthermore, national calls for assessment added research on how the housing and residence life operation could support the academic mission of colleges and universities and student success. As the leader of the housing and residence life operation, the chief housing officer is a critical piece of setting the agenda to meet all of these requirements and institutional goals, so the competencies required for this person to succeed are critical, both now and in the future.

This study used the Delphi technique to forecast the future required competencies. Twenty-one expert panelists completed all three rounds of the study. The expert panel was drawn from professionals who were or had been chief housing officers and currently or formerly served on the executive board of the Association for College and University Housing Officers-International.

These panelists identified 20 competencies that will be required for chief housing officers in 10 years. The top-ranked competency was financial planning and management.

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