Professional Staff in Academia: Academic Culture and the Role of Aggression
Professional staff are vital to the operation of universities. Their roles are different than those of academics who assume administrative jobs while maintaining their academic privileges and responsibilities. The term “professional staff ” refers to administrators, assistants, information technology technicians, librarians, cleaning and repair staff. 1 They are typically the fi rst people students interact with at a university. A study of community college students found that new students, those in their fi rst three weeks of courses, were more likely to have a meaningful encounter with staff than with instructors (Center for Community College Student Engagement [CCSSE], 2010). In many universities, faculty function as independent contractors, setting their own hours and often working from home. As a result, universities need professional staff to create a day-to-day organizational environment and maintain the operations of the organization.