Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

John Elmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David I. Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ph.D.


The purpose of this action research proposal is to effectively guide students through career uncertainty in their quest to declare a major and create post-secondary plans for success. I present how effectively serving undecided students in a neoliberal society demands examination of the modern purpose of higher education: job preparation. First, I explore the philosophy and psychology of ambiguity, and next the history of the liberal arts degree and its benefits to an evolving Generation Z. I go on to argue how neoliberalism negates the ambiguity that is inevitable and acceptable in career decisions and in life. I propose an intervention for undecided students that employs purpose-centered advising techniques that allow students to make room for ambiguity in their career decision-making processes. Through individualized interventions, a First Year Experience curriculum, and a “Discover Your Major” Fair, I propose a program that allows students to confront their career uncertainty, ultimately decide on a major, and gain decision-making skills applicable to personal and professional facets of their lives.