Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Martinez, Edna


Despite the importance and incorporation of staff development in higher education, there is limited research on the availability and use of learning opportunities for non-teaching personnel (NTP) in the form of professional development. Work performed by NTP in higher education is critical to university operations. Without professional development and engagement opportunities, NTP lack visibility, disengage and ultimately may separate from institutions of higher education. Deliberate organizational efforts to provide access to new learning opportunities and promote personal growth among NTP is the development and institutionalization of centers for professional development, also called staff development centers and staff training and professional development centers, among other names. Through an Appreciative Inquiry lens, this research aimed to understand the role of Westridge University's staff development center (SDC) in shaping professional development experiences and employee engagement among its NTP. The five major interrelated themes constructed from the data included: 1) Cultivating Talent; 2) Fostering Insight and Introspection; 3) Dismantling Perceptions of Invisibility and Lack of Appreciation; 4) Promoting Community; 5) Strengthening Staff Engagement. Also discussed are the results of these findings, recommendations for policy, practice, and future research.