Concurrent with the release of Education and Identity in 1969, the United States was at the nexus of social unrest and expanding funding and support for educational initiatives. The decades of the 1950s and 1960s saw a great increase in research and practice focused on developmental theorists working in the area of higher education. At the forefront of this work was theorist Arthur Chickering. The primary construct of Chickering’s (1969) work is the Seven Vectors of Development. The vectors are: (a) developing competence, (b) managing emotions, (c) moving through autonomy toward interdependence, (d) developing mature interpersonal relationships, (e) establishing identity, (f) developing purpose, and (g) developing integrity. This vector addresses competence across three domains: intellectual, physical and manual, and interpersonal. This chapter briefly outlines Chickering’s life work, and ways in which practitioners can apply his theory to their daily interactions with college students.
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Traditionally, there has been a division of labor in higher education between academics and student affairs. This chapter is designed to focus on the plausibility of using theory to facilitate communication across the many departments and divisions of higher education. It is important to remember that the student affairs profession “grew from the campus up, not from theory down”. Early institutions of higher education followed the Oxbridge model with historically based residential living systems in which educators resided in residence halls with the students. This concept of faculty–student integration remains a valuable component in student success today, and is discussed in greater detail in this chapter. One useful “language” for student affairs practitioners is found in Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. Erik Erikson pioneered a theoretical framework and proposes an eight-staged life-span model through which developing individuals permeate starting at birth and eventually ending with death.
Informal and loosely generated models of White identity development began to emerge in the late 1970s and early 1980s; however, the first formal White identity development model, or typology, was proposed by Helms in 1984. This chapter describes her model, followed by an application of the model to the opening vignette. It identifies strategies for educators and student affairs practitioners to work with students like Craig to begin to more fully understand his Whiteness, the sociopolitical realities of race on campus and, in general, increase his multicultural competence, and engage in healthy interracial interactions. The chapter also discusses the summary of the literature examining the steps educators and student affairs practitioners can take to promote their own cross-cultural interactions and multicultural knowledge in order to more effectively work with students struggling with their own racial identity, followed by the strategies to promote healthy interracial interactions among students.
Holland theorized six distinct worker personalities (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional). This is often referred to as RIASEC. The theory includes six work environments that correspond to the same personality types (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional). Although people possess aspects of each type, the general thesis of the theory is that salient types (work personalities) will emerge in each individual. Holland’s work represents a significant contribution to career development and counseling. Understanding Holland’s focus on interests as expressions of personality aids career counselors and student development specialists in helping students gain critical self-understanding. Exploring the match between personalities and work environments is a fundamental aspect of applying this theory to student development. Helping students to explore and learn about different careers that may be of interest to them is congruent with the goals of higher education institutions and student development theories.
Integral to theories of moral development is the matter of not only what individuals think but also how they think. Across the life span, moral development is shaped by challenging events that prompt individuals to question the frameworks they have created for finding ways to determine what is good and what is bad. College students encounter new ideas and values that differ from those of their families, in the classroom, in the residence hall, in the dining facility, in the student union, and sometimes on the athletic field or court. In order to illustrate how moral development unfolds within a college student population, this chapter introduces a fictitious character who displays each stage of moral development for two theories–Lawrence Kohlberg’s (1963, 1984) and Carol Gilligan’s (1982) models of moral development. The chapter discusses the underpinnings of two specific moral development theories.
Many adults understand the pressures of having multiple responsibilities that require attention in a variety of life circumstances. Whether giving attention to work, friends, school, religious activities, romantic relationships, family, or even recreation, adulthood requires the ongoing ability to multitask a variety of expectations and responsibilities. Before reaching adulthood, each person has experienced influences that affect how we think, feel, and react to life’s circumstances. This chapter offers professionals and educators one model for understanding these influences and their impact on college students who oftentimes are transitioning to a new world of adult responsibilities for the first time. Ecological theory originally developed out of the work of Urie Bronfenbrenner (1977) within the field of developmental psychology. The concepts described in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory offer a number of important implications for supporting students in a college setting.
The general racial/ethnic identity theories offer some insight into possible ways to approach diversity education within all aspects of student affairs. Student affairs professionals and faculty could facilitate educational programs, seminars, and workshops that challenge students to confront issues of prejudice and racism as well as to cultivate racial or ethnic pride. These programs should address the external conditions in which students explore their identity and how to make meaning of shifting thoughts as they progress in their racial or ethnic identity development. By looking at diversity through the lens of racial or ethnic orientation, professionals can meet students where they are and help them not only understand other cultures, but also how they fit into their own race/ethnicity. Practitioners might also use these models as a way to gain insight as to where students might be in their racial/ethnic identity development.
At its core, Kolb’s construct of experiential learning is more than simply a theory. Experiential learning theory (ELT) holds that learning is “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience”. Although ELT is often used in formal classroom settings, there are many out-of-classroom environments in student affairs that use and benefit from it as well. One way in which colleges and universities use experiential learning is through service-learning courses and projects. Several scholars have reported that using service learning in conjunction with ELT provides students with meaningful ways to engage not only with the community, but also to come to know more about diversity and social justice. Because out-of-classroom learning is such a key component in higher education and in the holistic development of students, using Kolb’s experiential learning model can aid students in meaning making as it facilitates personal growth.
The Myers–Briggs type indicator (MBTI) was designed to help people understand themselves and others by helping them appreciate the diverse strengths of different personality types. It has been widely used in counseling as well as business to work on team building and relationships. There is, therefore, room for using this assessment within the field of student affairs to help build teams and groups both for professionals in the field and for students. This chapter discusses the basic information about the MBTI and implications for student affairs. The instrument is considered as a personality assessment for normal individuals designed to assess personality type. The MBTI offers strength-based guidance in every realm of living concerning individual growth to interpersonal relationships, in academic matters to spiritual terrains. From the office of the president to the chaplain, the MBTI is a useful and effective tool on a college campus.
The study of human development, broad in scope and diverse in nature, has been the focus of research by psychologists, sociologists, educators, human ecologists, and many others since the early to mid-20th century. This chapter provides an overview of identity development in young adults. Initial theories across multiple domains of development (e.g., cognitive, psychological) have focused primarily on child and adolescent changes based on the assumption that most development slowed considerably or crystallized and stopped completely after late adolescence. As a result, developmental issues in young adulthood (approximately ages 18–24 years) received greater scrutiny, and theoretical frameworks for understanding these aspects emerged. The chapter examines some of the issues and theories that impact identity development during this period in life. Psychosocial developmental theories offer frameworks for conceptualizing the issues individuals encounter at various points across the life span and have provided structure for more recent research as well.