Impact of Work Experience on Academic Administrators in a Culturally Responsive Work Environment: A Mixed Methods Study



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Work environment can impact the feelings of wellbeing, workplace relationships, collaboration, efficiency, and overall employee health. Culturally responsiveness has been established as an effective strategy to improve academic performance of underserved students, but its impact has not been explored among academic administrators (staff) who are not only essential for daily execution of the various service provisions of a successful university and its academic programs, but also the core for effectively running other departments. Based on Culturally Responsiveness and Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity framework, this explanatory mixed-method study investigates impact of work environment on academic administrators’ workexperience and how academic administrators describe their work environment as being culturally responsive. A quantitative survey of 35 Likert scale questions measured how academic administrators are impacted by their work experience based on their role, years of experience and ethnicity. Through randomly purposeful sampling scheme (Onwuegbuzie and Collins, 2007), seven participants were selected for interviews from survey participants. This study integrated survey responses and case study interviews of data. Data from the survey was used to determine participants to be interviewed and responses were critically compared. Survey responses was reported through SPSS software and interviews transcripts were transcribed verbatim in NVivo software. The quantitative analytic process involved data screening, frequencies, and Pearson Chi-Square and the qualitative analysis involved a thematic analysis of interview transcripts using an open-coding process to separate and categorize data into meaningful expressions. Final part of the research brought together quantitative and qualitative result in the discussion section and compared responses to research questions. Findings from the statistical analysis indicates that academic administrators have a positive work experience and ethnicity had a significance relation to role of academic administrators. Also, participants in the interview reported the existence of cultural responsiveness in their work environment. Participants expressed experiencing acceptance, adaptation, and integration of cultural responsiveness at their institutions as well as their personal disposition in a diverse work environment. Interview responses also reinforced the qualities of culturally responsive work environment that relates with positive work experience in the statistical analyses and showed the different forms that these characteristics might take at the institution. Overall, the findings suggest that culturally responsive work environment have an impact in academic administrators work experience. Academic administrators place value in work environment that is safe and positive. Cultural responsiveness is also useful for connecting with others from different backgrounds while learning about one’s explicit and implicit biases. This study also established that there are many policies, opportunities and events that are reportedly being initiated or practiced at the institutions to promote cultural responsiveness.



Leadership, Academic Administrator, Cultural responsiveness, Higher education