Perceptions of teaching staff in human services about academic entitlement

Kristin Heffernan (Department of Social Work, College at Brockport, State University of New York, Brockport, New York, USA)
Trevor G. Gates (School of Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Australia)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 8 October 2018



The purpose of this paper is to explore how perceived student entitlement influences the work experiences of a sample of teaching staff in human services, counselor education and social work.


To examine the relationship between perceived academic entitlement and job-related affective well-being among teaching staff in social work, counseling and human services, a cross-sectional design was utilized. To be eligible for the study, participants must have been 18 years of age and currently employed as teaching staff in a human service program in the USA.


A convenience sample of 118 teaching staff demonstrated that negative well-being is correlated with perceptions of academic entitlement. It also revealed that teaching staff with a lower academic rank perceived their students to be more entitled, suggesting that pressures of working toward tenure may influence these professors’ behaviors making them more accommodating to students. Accommodating behavior may be driven by a need for favorable teaching evaluations but impacts the quality of education a student receives.


These data shed light on the relationship between perceived student academic entitlement and job-related affective well-being among human service teaching staff and consider how a shift in students’ expectations influences the behaviors of teaching staff.



Kristin Heffernan and Trevor G. Gates (2018) "Perceptions of teaching staff in human services about academic entitlement", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 469-477

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