A Study of the Factors and Conditions Associated with Graduate Enrollment Management Practitioners’ Participation in Professional Development

This investigation was designed to determine the factors and conditions associated with graduate enrollment management practitioners’ participation in professional development (PD) activities. The sample consisted of members of a professional association, the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (NAGAP), focused solely on supporting graduate enrollment managers and related staff, whose patterns of involvement in various PD events for the previous five years were classified as low or inconsistent. In an effort to identify member preferences, as well as characteristics associated with PD activities, the investigator sought to provide information useful to developing future PD programs for NAGAP.

An electronic quantitative instrument, the Professional Development in Graduate Enrollment Management (PDGEM) survey, consisted of closed-ended questions related to PD grouped under the following headings: Demographic Information, Support for and Knowledge of Professional Development Activities, Attitudes and Beliefs about Professional Development: Individual and Institutional, Components of Professional Development in Graduate Enrollment Management, Professional Development Plans, Participation and Involvement in NAGAP Professional Development Activities, Other Organizations’ Professional Development, and Professional Development Overall. It was disseminated to 1,461 members of NAGAP, with a return rate of 163 (11%). Descriptive and linear regression analyses were conducted in order to discern (1) the frequency of participation in PD and (2) the demographic and other variables predictive of participation in PD.

The study's findings revealed that about one-quarter of the respondents participated regularly in NAGAP-sponsored PD and that the involvement levels of the remainder of the membership were inconsistent. Additionally, on-site activities were favored over online, content relevance greatly influenced whether practitioners participated, and member interest in conducting academic research was low. Cost was also a primary factor in determining participation in professional development.

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