Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Jason C. Garvey

Second Advisor

Lisa J. Schnell


Student affairs professionals often enter their first supervisory positions with little to no training on how to effectively supervise others (Calhoun & Nasser, 2012; Shupp & Arminio, 2012). As professionals advance to mid- and senior-level positions, they often inherit direct and indirect supervisory responsibilities over multiple levels of staff of which they must attend to the performance, development, and morale. How student affairs professionals supervise and build supervisory relationships is essential to the success of departments and can significantly impact the development, morale, and retention of student affairs professionals (Bolman & Deal, 2013; Davis & Cooper, 2017; Winston & Creamer, 1997). The goal of this three-article qualitative case-study dissertation was to understand how residential life staff experienced using restorative practices (RP) as part of their supervision style and the influence of RP on their supervision skill development. This study also explored the potential connections between restorative practices-based supervision and Winston and Creamer’s (1997) synergistic supervision framework.

Study findings indicate the potential of RP to support supervision by providing a framework for proactively building supervisory relationships, fostering two-way communication, holding staff accountable and managing conflict, as well as balance their staff’s emotions and feedback with the accomplishment of organizational goals. Findings also highlight several connections between the use of RP in a supervisory context and the synergistic supervision framework. Finally, the findings of this study highlighted several influences on the development of supervision competencies. These competencies included their communication skills, ability to hold staff accountable, self-reflection of their supervisory approaches, and increased emotional self-awareness and intelligence. This dissertation also outlines several implications for practice for administrators and staff considering incorporating RP into its organizational framework as well as recommendations for future research.



Number of Pages

263 p.