Friday, October 29, 2010

Schlossberg's Theory of Transition Written by Bobbi Davis

Explaining theory in my own words:
Dr. Nancy Schlossberg’s Theory of Transition is a psychosocial model of development that examines life events which affect various aspects of an individual’s life and their societal roles.  The person’s perception of the transition is as important to understanding how a person is affected by his/her changing life events as much as the type, context and impact of the transition itself.  Types of transitions include anticipated, unanticipated, event, non-event and chronic or “hassles”.  Anticipated transitions are those that are seen as occurring predictably in one’s lifetime, whereas unanticipated are just the opposite where the individual did not expect them to occur.  Those transitions that a person counted on to happen and did occur are called events.  A non-event is defined as a transition a person counted on to occur, but did not happen as hoped.  Chronic transitions are changes in one’s roles and routines that occur due to an anticipated, unanticipated, event or non-event transition.  Context of transition refers to the relationship the person has with the transition (i.e., personal, interpersonal, or community) and the setting where the transition occurs.  Impact would be assessed by understanding how much a person’s daily life has be altered.  Schlossberg outlined the transition process with the terms of “moving in”, “moving through” and “moving out”.  Methods for coping with transition, whether positive or negative, come from assessing a person’s assets and liabilities in the four areas which Schlossberg termed as the 4 S’s – situation, self, support and strategies. 
Example of how used in higher education:
The main use of Schlossberg’s transition theory is with adult learners and their return to higher education.  Compared to traditional students, non-tradition students are generally at many different points in their life due to the various types of transitions they have undergone.  Programming developed on the 4 S’s can help adult learners to recognize and draw upon their assets in coping with the perception of moving into the challenge of returning to school instead of only seeing what their limitation might be.  However, the entire transition process of moving in, moving through and moving on can be used as a guide in student affairs to facilitate all stages of college student development, not just adult learners, in how they interpret their college experiences and use that knowledge to further develop.
Rayle, A. (2007). Revisiting first-year college students’ mattering: Social support, academic stress, and the mattering experience. Journal of College Student Retention, 9(1), 21-37.
Using Schlossberg’s transition theory as a framework, Rayle investigated if any relationships existed between mattering to family and college friends and the degree to which students felt they mattered to the college community and level of academic stress for first-year college students.  Rayle administered three assessment measurements to 533 students enrolled in freshman level courses in the College of Education.  The researcher found that across the sample, social support from family and college friends significantly impacted mattering to the college community, as well as strongly predicated the level of academic stress students’ experienced.
Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Schlossberg, N.K. (1984). Counseling adults in transition: Linking Practice with Theory.  New York, New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.
Schlossberg, N.K. (1989). Overwhelmed: Coping with life’s ups and downs. Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Baxter Magolda’s Theory of Self Authorship Written by Anita Kiteau

Overview of Theory
Marcia Baxter Magolda began her study of this theory when she identified an important gap of gender in the existing work of Perry and Belenky. She saw the need to address gender in the study and to involve both men and women together. Magolda originally began her study in 1992 on the epistemological development of 101 Miami University students. She conducted an exclusive study on epistemological development and her work evolved over the last twenty years with an in-depth study of thirty nine students out of the 101 original participants.

Baxter Magolda identified three dimensions which answer the three simple questions that the individual questions during his or her journey toward self-authorship. These questions are: how do I know, who am I, and how do I want to construct relationships with others. The three dimensions of self-authorship are: a) epistemological which assists the individual to answer the “how do I know” part, b) intrapersonal where the individual finds answer to the question of “who am I” and lastly c) interpersonal, the individual comes to a strong sense of self and is able to master the “how do I want to construct relationships with others.” These dimensions are intertwined according to the experiences of the individual.

The Intersection of all circles is "Inner Voice"

There are four phases of self-authorship discovered by Baxter Magolda.  These are following formulas, crossroads, becoming the author of one’s life, and internal foundation. These phases are not linear however fundamentally, when the individual becomes the author of self, he or she is moving away from following external formulas to developing their inner voices and makes meaning of life based on their internal foundation. She concluded that participants were not identified as reaching self-authorship, however they left college with an initial awareness of self-authorship and continue to make meaning in their lives as they develop their inner voices. Baxter Magolda later introduced the Learning Partnership Model (LPM) with Patricia King to foster self-authorship development. The LPM creates environments between individuals and authorities that effectively promote self-authorship.
Use in Higher Education
Baxter Magolda argued that self authorship needs to be the basis for advance learning outcomes in college in order to effectively prepare students for this century. Self-authorship is being applied in college through interaction among students and educators and includes giving constructive instruction that allow for self reflection, clear interpretations of self beliefs, and active involvement in meaningful activities. Student Affairs develop self-authorship within resident halls, academic advising, career advising and professional student affairs staff. Self-authorship is critically reflected on the diverse population of students and their different experiences.
Annotated Bibliography Entry
Walczak, K.K. (2008). Utilizing self-authorship to understand the college admission process. Journal of College Admission, (198), 31-35

The author draws from the student development theories of self-authorship and orders of consciousness to understand first year, traditional-aged college students. This includes how they understand entry into college through the admission process before they actually develop self-authorship in college. The author examines the development of students as they approach the admission process in the following stages: following external formulas/durable categories, the crossroads/cross-categorical thinking and becoming author of own life/self-authorship. Students do not have a viewpoint of self at first and rely upon others such as authorities (parents and admissions personnel) to tell them exactly what to do. Secondly, students begin to constructively make sense of differences and build their own viewpoints but still do not understand how others’ views influence theirs. Lastly, students are able to separate their viewpoints from others and act upon their own ideas and beliefs. The study concludes with implications that admission counselors and authorities should facilitate the developmental transition of where a student is and where college personnel expect them to be.

Magolda, M.B. (2004).  Making their own way.  Sterling, VA:  Stylus.

Magolda, M.B. (2010). The interweaving of epistemological, intrapersonal, and interpersonal development in the evolution of self-authorship. In M.B. Magolda, E.F. Creamer and P.S. Meszaros (Eds.), Development and Assessment of Self-Authorship (pp. 25-43). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Walczak, K.K. (2008). Utilizing self-authorship to understand the college admission process. Journal of College Admission, (198), 31-35.

Faith Development Theory Written by Kylee Vanek

Summary of Theory
The Faith Development Theory was first developed by Sharon Dolaz Parks in 1986 and then expanded on and modified in 2000. To develop the theory, Parks drew heavily on the work of earlier theorists; Perry, Kegan & Gilligan and Fowler. Their theories dealing with cognitive development, interpersonal development and community are very evident in Parks’ work.
Faith as defined by Parks is, “the activity of seeking and discovering meaning in the most comprehensive dimensions of our experience” (Parks, p. 7).  Parks developed four periods associated with faith development: adolescent/conventional, young adult, tested adult, and mature adult. As individuals develop they have new ways of understanding, which Parks refers to as “forms of knowing.” These forms are authority-bound, unqualified relativism, probing commitment, tested commitment and conviction commitment.
Parks criticizes the importance American culture puts on independence, instead of focusing on inner dependence and the interconnectedness that all individuals share. Due to this critique, Parks discusses the different forms of dependence individuals experience and the forms of community that can empower them as they move towards a greater inner dependence. While not linear, these forms of dependency do allow for individuals to have an increasing awareness of their relationships with others. Individuals experience dependence/counter dependence, fragile inner dependence, confident inner dependence and eventually interdependence. In correlation the communities which individuals are involved in evolve, as well. Conventional communities, diffuse communities, mentoring communities, self-selected groups and open to the other are all communities that individuals may be a part of during their faith development. As individuals move through these communities it is important that these communities offer support and challenge to the individuals. 

Uses in Higher Education
The Faith Development Model is most applicable to higher education when it comes to faculty and staff members’ roles as mentors. The process of offering mentorships that balance both challenge and support to students is vital. This theory is also applicable in aiding students in developing their ability to question and develop their own truths. Higher education is a place for students to grow in their understanding of the academic world, but also in terms of their own self identities. Higher education must be a community that allows for questioning, reflection and a place to give voice to each person’s own beliefs.  
Annotated Bibliography
Watt, S.K. (2003). Come to the River: Using Spirituality to Cope, Resist, and Develop Identity. New Directions for Student Services,104, 29-40. doi:10.1002/55.105
Sherry Watt conducted a qualitative study in 1997 that looks at the experiences of African American college women to understand how they use faith to cope with negative stereotypes. This study involved 48 women among four focus-groups. Watt noted limitations with previous faith development theories including that of Parks. Four themes emerged from the study that reflected Parks’ importance of mentors including; Relation Are Our Teachers, Strong Women-Absent Men, Responsibility to Younger Siblings/Families and Important Relationships.  Watt provided valuable implications for the practice of student affairs based on the study focusing on holistic development, support and recognizing the value that spirituality has in individuals’ lives.

Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F. M., Patton, L. D., & Renn, K. A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed., pp. 202-211). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Parks, S.D. (2000). Big questions, worthy dreams: Mentoring young adults in their search for meaning, purpose, and faith. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Watt, S.K. (2003). Come to the River: Using Spirituality to Cope, Resist, and Develop Identity. New Directions for Student Services,104, 29-40. doi:10.1002/55.105

Student Development Theory In Practice

Over the first four weeks of the term, our class has been able to understand student development theories in practice through agencies and practitioners at the University of Utah as well as colleagues across the U.S.  Here are some highlights.
Tony Gonzales, the Director of the First Scholars Program, shared with us information on his program that is focused on engaging first generation students to facilitate accomplishing their academic goals.  The First Scholars Program provides 20 students with a scholarship that covers tuition, room, and board for their first year as well as continued financial resources beyond their first year if they meet renewal criteria.  In addition, Tony serves as an academic advisor for these students to facilitate their success.  He shared some initial experiences he has had with these students as well as his use of Astin’s I-E-O Model and Theory of Involvement as well as Tinto’s later theories on retention.
Dr. Gwen Fears, Director of Orientation and Leadership, discussed the components of her department that focus on orienting new students, connecting to parents, and facilitating student leadership.  She explained her model of program development, which involves theory, best practice, and listening to the student experience.  These three components result in programming that is holistic in facilitating student development.  For orientation, she has drawn on Kolb’s Learning Theory, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Chickering’s Seven Vectors, Holland’s Theory of Vocation Choice, and Perry’s Theory of Intellectual and Ethical Development. 
As the class discussed Chickering’s Seven Vectors, we reflected on the Professional Development Seminar from Nichols College in Dudley, MA.  This seminar teaches professional skills to college students through a number of courses that are offered to students during the entire college degree.  The Seven Vectors are used to organize the content by year.  For example, Developing Competence, in the First Year course focuses on time management and introduces the personal portfolio.  By the senior year, students are using their portfolios, developing resumes, and engaging in a senior project.  Nichols has identified areas of competency for students based on academic year of their degree progression.
Recently, the class focused on the Theory of Self-Authorship by Marcia Baxter Magolda.  An example from colleagues at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT demonstrated how academic advisors could use this theory to facilitate development of self-authorship by students.  In her presentation at the 2010 National Academic Advising Conference, Gale Larson explained that conversations that encourage a student to reflect on his/her experiences through dialogue with an advisor will build self-authorship.  This technique is important for students as they make decisions on majors, careers, and extra-curricular activities.
Examples of applying theory to practice through guest speakers and materials from higher education colleagues are contributing to a deeper understanding of college student development.  And, here’s a photo of our group that includes Dr. Fears.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Women's Ways of Knowing - Synopsis by E. Kalstad

Overview of Theory

Women’s Ways of Knowing is a theory by Belenky,  Clinchy, Goldberger, Tarule (1986) that reflects on the work of Gilligan and Perry  and emerged through research that encompassed a very broad demographic of women.  This theory is based on in-depth interviews with 135 women about their self image, moral dilemmas, relationships of importance, education and learning, visions for the future, and perceived catalysts for change (Belenky et al., 1986). Based on the interviews, some common themes among the women emerged and became the five epistemologies of Women’s Ways of Knowing.

The theory consists of five groups, advancing from the most basic form of thought and intellect to the most complex. The first epistemology is “women of silence.”  These women lack a voice of their own, conduct very little or no internal dialogue, and typically grew up disconnected from the community. The next epistemology is “women of received knowledge.”  These women are completely dependent on others for knowledge (Belenky et al., 1986).  The third group, “subjective knowers,” believes truth is in personal experience (Evans, 2010).  Many of these women have experienced sexual abuse (Belenky et al., 1986). “Procedural knowers” are at the next level of knowing and these women believe each of us looks at the world through a different lens. They rely on a combination of intuition and external authorities for answers.  The last of the epistemologies, “constructed knowledge,” integrates intuitive knowledge with learned knowledge from others. These women have developed a personal narrative, do not loose voice while listening to others, and use themselves to rise to new ways of thinking (Belenky et al., 1986).

Example of How it’s Been Used in Higher Ed.The Women’s Ways of Knowing theory has been used as a means to improve curriculum design, instruction, and techniques in educating women at the college level. Women need colleges that will set them free to find their own voice.  In this move toward freedom, women need a great amount of support, but they often are too nurtured in higher-education and may actually benefit from a more impersonal approach (Belenky et al., 1986).  This would challenge women to be more responsible, independent and active in their learning process.  Women students need opportunities to see professors (male and female) fail in their abilities to solve problems. Women need to see models of thinking as human, imperfect and achievable.

Annotated Bibliography
Nah, Y. (2003). Contextual influences on women’s identities and leadership styles. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, 9(4), 69. Retrieved from the ProQuest database.

Nay conducted research on five Korean women leaders in male-dominated professions. The research applied Belenky et al.’s theory of Women’s Way of Knowing by conducting a series of three interviews about their backgrounds, career profiles and experience overcoming gender-based discrimination. The study had two main goals 1) to challenge the belief that women’s identities and leadership styles are primarily relation-conscious based, and 2) to challenge the role of gender as the primarily determinant (over age, ethnicity, socioeconomic level, educational experiences and power) of a woman’s thought and behavior. The study found that you cannot generalize women. The context in which the women lived had a much greater correlation of their leadership styles, thoughts and behaviors than their gender.  I found this article helpful in targeting a very specific population, but it was limited by a lack of randomness. Participants volunteered themselves after being informed of the goals of the study.

Belenky, M.F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N.R., Tarule, J.M. (1986). Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self voice and mind. New York: Basic Books Inc.

Evans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido, F., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Nah, Y. (2003). Contextual influences on women’s identities and leadership styles. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, 9(4), 69. Retrieved from the ProQuest database.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

King & Kitchener's Reflective Judgment Model - Synopsis Written by Richel Raich

Patricia M. King and Karen Strohm Kitchener spent 15 years developing the Reflective Judgment Model, a model that better explains how students develop arguments and judgments. King and Kitchener began by building on the intellectual development theories of Perry, Piaget and others.

The Reflective Judgment Model is comprised of 7 stages which fit within 3 clusters: pre-reflective, quasi-reflective and reflective. The stages are linear in nature but it is possible to be in more than one stage at a time (see figure 1). In the first cluster, pre-reflective thinking, students believe that all questions must have a right, definitive answer. They also do not use evidence to support their answers. Quasi-reflective thinkers identify that the answers to some questions will be uncertain but are challenged in validating their conclusions about knowledge. Reflective thinking, stages 6 and 7, demonstrates development in critical thinking as one comes to know.  Characteristics of this cluster include understanding context, identifying pertinent data, and being active in the construction of knowledge, including reevaluation. 

King and Kitchener developed the Reflective Judgment Interview or RJI to evaluate students’ stages on the Reflective Judgment Model. Trained interviewers asked students 4 ill-structured problems without clear and certain resolutions. Many different studies using the RJI, which combined interviewed over 1,000 students, revealed example answers for students in different stages of the Reflective Judgment Model.

Use in Higher Education

The Reflective Judgment Model is incredibly useful in the field of higher education, in and out of the classroom. Professors can use the model, and King and Kitchener’s suggestions, to better understand students’ learning processes and modify curriculum to facilitate students’ moving onto higher stages of reflective judgment. Student affairs professionals can also use the Reflective Judgment Model to create programming to increase students’ reflective thinking. 

Annotated Bibliography

Ilacqua, J. A., & Prescott, M. E. (2003, Winter). Knowing economic theory: Applying the
reflective judgment model in introductory economics. Education, 124(2), 368-375, 268-

In attempt to increase students’ productivity and capacities for knowledge, two professors from Bryant College in Rhode Island created economics assignments with King and Kitchener’s Reflective Judgment model in mind. They tested these assignments on two different introductory economics courses: a day course of all traditional, first year students and a night course of less traditional, older students. The professors prefaced these assignments by explaining the Reflective Judgment model to students and their expectations of increased reflection by the students. Results from the students’ second assignments did demonstrate an increased ability to use reflective judgment, especially for students in the night class. The professors’ use of the Reflective Judgment Model in the assignments was creative and their choice to inform students of the model prior to completing the assignments can be credited for the study’s successful results. The article was a great example of using theory in the classroom.


Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F. M., Patton, L. D., & Renn, K. A. (2010). Later cognitive
structural theories. In Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice
(2nd ed., pp. 130-135). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (1994). Developing reflective judgment: Understanding and
promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.