Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

Vicki Rosser

Second Committee Member

Torica Webb

Third Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Fourth Committee Member

Jessee Brinson

Number of Pages



Higher education institutions are complex institutions that are often difficult to navigate. Additionally, the policies and procedures that govern these institutions have the potential to exclude the student's voice. Understanding the power relations and hierarchical structures that exist within the institutions presents another difficult avenue to navigate for students. It is imperative that institutions understand their role in educating students to be civic-minded individuals with the cognitive ability to assist in making informed decisions.

Several scholars (Brubacher & Rudy, 1968; Vaccaro & Covert, 1969; Crane, 1969; McGrath, 1970; Morison, 1970; Baldridge, 1971; May, 2010) describe a time where student input was valued and deemed a necessity with curriculum reform, financial policies, and day to day operations of the institution. Utilizing Organizational Role Theory and Chickering's Seven Vectors of Identity Development, this dissertation will explore how undergraduate students in a Student Government Association are participating in the informal and formal decision making process at their respective institution. Through a historical view of the literature surrounding student governance, student experiences and perceptions of roles will be explored while discussing the shift in student power throughout the history of higher education. I will conclude with recommendations to improve policy and practice.


College students; History of higher education; Institutional governance; Student governance; Student government association; Student leaders



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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