Scholarship in Administration: Connecting With the University Culture


  • Aaron D. Coe EdD,

    1. University of Phoenix
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Aaron D. Coe, EdD, is associate dean in the School of Advanced Studies at University of Phoenix and has been involved in education for over a decade. He is responsible for promoting faculty scholarship throughout the university and teaches qualitative research and in the higher education administration program at the doctoral level. His research interests include higher education administration, scholarship in higher education, K–12 virtual education policy, and qualitative research methods. Coe earned an EdD in higher and postsecondary education from Arizona State University. He may be reached at

  • Keri L. Heitner PhD

    1. City University of New York
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Keri L. Heitner, PhD, is an academician and researcher with more than 25 years of experience conducting service delivery research and development, evaluation, needs assessment, and labor market research in the education, health care, business, government, and nonprofit sectors. Heitner also teaches research at the graduate level at two universities, chairs dissertation committees, and serves as a subject matter expert for research, dissertations, and human subjects issues. She earned a PhD and an MPhil in environmental psychology from the City University of New York and a master's in general/experimental psychology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research. She may be reached at


This phenomenological hermeneutic study explored the meaning found in the lived experience of producing scholarship for five higher education administrators from within the major areas of administration in higher education—academic affairs, business affairs, and student affairs—from a single research university. In the historical and recent scholarship about the three fields of higher education, one issue that has not been addressed is the meaning found in producing scholarship as an administrator. Thus, the challenges and rewards of producing scholarship as a practicing administrator, creating the first step toward a possible new era in the practice of scholarship on college campuses, were explored. Individual semistructured interviews were the primary source of data, and the authors used a three-step data analysis process to develop both an understanding of what producing scholarship means for each participant and an interpretation of the meaning of producing scholarship as a higher education administrator. Across all the lived experiences of the various scholarly endeavors, each administrator was more connected to education and contributed more to the educational environment by participating in scholarly activities. The administrators were found to be more connected to the people within the university, to their own field of practice, and to the university itself.