Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling

First Advisor

Becky Ropers-Huilman


This research is a mixed model study that explores the relationship between the research assistantship and development as a researcher for individuals serving as professors of higher education in Research I institutions. Also of interest in this research are the ways that research assistantship experiences vary based on gender and other identity characteristics such as rank, age, and race. Critical inquiry is used as the theoretical framework for this study given that it incorporates the use of both quantitative and qualitative means of data collection. A major quantitative finding from this study demonstrates that there were significant differences in the sample's responses based on age and race to the survey items which asked respondents to indicate how they felt that their research assistantship influenced their development as a researcher. Qualitative findings highlight the ways in which the research assistantship influences the decision of individuals to enter the professoriate, as well as informants' varying perspectives on the purposes, advantages, and disadvantages of the research assistantship. Suggestions for future research include: (a) broadening the scope of the research to include institutional types other than Research I institutions; (b) exploration of this topic in disciplines or areas other than higher education; (c) expanding the term "faculty development" to include teaching and service; and (d) investigation of the research assistantship experience for individuals who chose a career route other than that of academe.