Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Communication, Technology, and Society

Committee Member

Dr. Darren Linvill, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Travers Scott

Committee Member

Dr. Lori Pindar


College media advisers are an incredibly involved type of staff member, often serving as a "cultural navigator" for their students and the organizations they advise. As used throughout this study, Strayhorn's (2015) term cultural navigator indicates someone who works to guide students through an educational experience or life-chapter. As such, this concept frames the research presented in this study. This research looks at the experience of being a college media adviser, including challenges and functions of the position, through the use of a qualitative phenomenological study. Twelve self-identified college media advisers located across the United States were interviewed. From these interviews, 10 themes were identified (in relation to three research questions) as important for advising college media. The first question looks at the adviser's specific experiences, including (1a) The position involves preparing students for the future, (1b) Advisers aid in student success, and (1c) Advising is more than "just a job". The second research question focuses on challenges that advisers experience: (2a) The job is always changing, (2b) Past experience, not education, prepares you for this role, and (2c) The structure of the position lacks consistency. Finally, the third research question examines specific functions of the college media adviser position: (3a) Building relationships with students is integral, (3b) The position involves being a counselor, (3c) National organizations serve as a cultural navigator, and (3d) You have to let the students be in charge. Each of these themes were analyzed and yielded significant statements from advisers to offer an understanding of the place they hold within the college media organization.



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