Graduate students share their experiences of building helping skills: A case study


helping skills, higher education graduate programs, student affairs preparation, curriculum, case study

How to Cite

Houdyshell, M., & Ziegler, N. (2021). Graduate students share their experiences of building helping skills: A case study. Journal Of Curriculum Studies Research, 3(2), 57-78.


Higher education needs individuals working with students to have the skills to handle a variety of issues related to success and well-being. Graduate programs preparing higher education professionals to work with students provide the opportunity for skill-building to occur. However, how do graduate students perceive their skill development in courses offered in a graduate program, specifically related to basic helping skills? This study, conducted in a College of Education at a university located in the southern United States posed two questions to find out more about the attributes graduate students contribute in the development of their knowledge of helping skills, and documenting the lived experiences of graduate students practicing helping skills. Five graduate students enrolled in a new course on helping skills were part of this case study. Three themes emerged after collecting and coding data during the course. The three themes were: building helping skills, confidence and comfortability, and multicultural, diversity and inclusion. The discussion section includes recommendations to always offer a helping skills course in graduation programs preparing individuals to work in higher education, any course on helping skills should have a multicultural focus, and the course curriculum should include a mix of clinical and practical elements.
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