Examining Themes and Lessons from the Great Resignation

May 30, 2023
  • Professional Development and Contributions to the Field
  • Professional Well-Being
Illustration of workers resigning and walking through a door.

A part of the “great resignation,” many higher education professionals are considering whether they will stay in their current positions or pursue other opportunities. “One of the many factors in this decision-making process is their relationship with their supervisor,” wrote Alex Fronduto in the latest College & University. In his recent qualitative study, Fronduto explored the lived experiences of higher education supervisees to uncover ways supervisors can best support their employees and work culture. The study utilized interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) with ten higher education professionals with less than five years of higher education experience. 

Several themes emerged during the research around the role of the supervisor; office culture; age, generation and values; and diversity, equity and inclusion. According to interviewees, higher education professionals would benefit from supervisors who: provide onboarding to new employees; foster a collaborative and empowering office culture that includes timely and purposeful feedback; recognize the strengths and values of individual employees; and look at who is in positions of power and where privilege and power exist in the workplace.

Recommendations for best practices include:

  • Support staff growth

  • Provide a Safe, Positive, and Flexible Work Environment

  • Communicate Effectively

Senior administration should ensure adequate training and tools are given to employees who supervise staff as well as continually advocate that an adequate percentage of job responsibilities for supervisors be devoted to supervising and coaching employees, Fronduto wrote. Supervisors not currently at the senior administration level should evaluate their current supervising methods and work culture and self-advocate if additional resources, training, and/or time are needed.

Other articles in this issue include:  


Research in Brief:

Campus Viewpoint:


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