Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Thomas E. Miller, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jody Conway, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Karla Davis-Salazar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Schneider, Ph.D.


advisor, employee, fraternities, functional area, higher education administration, sororities


A higher education administrator who provides oversight, education, and accountability for fraternities and sororities is the fraternity/sorority advisor. Long-term retention in this role is low, with the average amount of time spent in the position being 3.33 years (Koepsell & Stillman, 2016). Limited research has been conducted to understand why. The purpose of the study was to explore the factors (including characteristics and experiences) contributing to the retention and attrition of campus-based student affairs professionals working in the fraternity/sorority life functional area. This qualitative study included 23 participants who at the time served in the role for longer than eight years full-time or had previously served in the role for a minimum of two years full-time. Each participant took part in a semi-structured interview and a follow-up interview, and submitted their resume as part of a document analysis. Interview data were analyzed using open and axial coding, leading to the creation of themes. Content analysis was used to analyze resumes. The results of the interviews revealed experiences leading to attaining the role and identified factors that contribute to attrition and retention in the position such as adjustments required, the impact of students, support needed from administration, and the effect supervisors have on the person. The results of the document analysis revealed patterns in experiences and components of the fraternity/sorority advisor job responsibilities that may have affected participants’ retention such as advising assignments and involvement in conduct processes. The study’s results led to recommendations focused on staffing practices, preparation for the role, professional development needed, and necessary support provided by the individual’s direct supervisor and institution’s higher level administrators.