Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Hirschy, Amy Seleste

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Pregliasco, Bridgette

Committee Member

Pregliasco, Bridgette

Committee Member

Thomas, Shelley

Committee Member

Valentine, Jeff


Student affairs services--United States; Multicultural education--United States; Cultural pluralism--United States


This dissertation examined the relationship between background characteristics and multicultural competence among academic advising professionals at a large, public, urban research institution in the southern United States. It begins with a brief overview of ethical principles in academic advising, focusing on the responsibility academic advisors have to advise all students equitably. The dissertation study is guided by a conceptual framework grounded in student departure theory (Tinto, 1975, 1987, 1993), learning-centered academic advising (Lowenstein, 2005), culturally sustaining pedagogy (Paris, 2012), and multicultural competencies in helping and advising (Pope, Reynolds, & Mueller, 2004) to argue for an understanding of culturally responsive advising practice as an ethical and social action. The latter part of the dissertation reveals that certain personal and professional attributes affect levels of multicultural competence. The volunteer, convenience sample consisted of 81 professional academic advisors, and current and recent master’s and doctoral students in a counseling and personnel services preparation program. Using an exploratory univariate regression analysis, results from the survey study indicated that race/ethnicity and frequency of participation in multicultural coursework and training are significant predictors of a higher multicultural competence score. The study concludes with implications for both research and practice in an era of increasing awareness of the importance of completing a postsecondary degree.