Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Cecile Sam, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

James Coaxum, III, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Tyrone McCombs, Ph.D.


Student Affairs, Women in Higher Education with Children, Women in Student Affairs, Women with Children with Disabilities


Higher education--Employees; Work-life Balance


Higher Education


Student affairs professionals often grapple with how to attain proper work/family balance (WFB), as being a part of a helping profession can make it extremely difficult for these professionals to set limits and boundaries. In addition, successfully balancing one's work and family domains appears to be more challenging for parents that have children with disabilities than those with typically developing children. Unfortunately, there is a lack of literature examining how women who work in student affairs and have children with disabilities achieve WFB. As such, the purpose of this general qualitative study is to describe how women who work in student affairs and have at least one child with at least one disability, describe WFB and navigate their dual roles. The sample included 21 women who were selected utilizing a criterion sampling method and every individual participated in an in-depth semi-structured interview. The collected data was analyzed using process coding and pattern coding. The findings of this study suggest that these women do not try to achieve WFB but rather attempt to juggle their multiple roles. They strive to "let go" of the idea that balance is achievable, they need workplace flexibility, and they rely on the role of their spouse/partner, family support, the creation of networks, as well as hiring outside agencies, to successfully navigate their dual roles. The findings of this study can assist higher education leaders in understand the important role they play in helping their employees navigate their dual roles.