Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2021

Thesis Director

Richard L. Roberts

Thesis Committee Member

Heather K. Webb

Thesis Committee Member

Mona Y. Davenport


The purpose of this study is to gain perspective of how student affairs professionals are managing the changing dynamic of the student. The researcher sought to explore how student affairs professionals cope with the expectation that the “customer is always right” while encouraging students’ development. It was found that student affairs professionals share a common goal to assist and serve students, but administration, parents, and students have clear expectations as to how they do so. It was found that the customer service mantra “the customer is always right” does exist on a college campus, and it comes with a cost. According to the participants, giving the student what they want may improve enrollment and retention numbers, but the student’s development suffers. It was found that today’s college student is embarking on their college career with more complex needs and challenges than any generation before. Furthermore, students are ill-prepared for college, reliant on technology, socially anxious, and seek the fastest, easiest options. For these reasons, it is important for parents, K-12 teachers, and student affairs professionals to encourage students to critically think, problem solve, and find their own voice.