Student Development Theories in Action

This weeks discussion board had me in all the feels for my students.

The question was…
Student Affairs professionals job searching are often asked to describe what they identify the student development theory that shapes their work in the field.  If you are are asked this question, how would you respond?  Be sure to give a brief overview of the theory and why you believe this theory is the best one to use in student affairs work.

This is my personal take on this question.

Baxter Magolda’s Theory of Self-Authorship

Baxter Magolda defines self-authorship as “the internal capacity to define one’s beliefs, identity, and social relations” and answers the three questions, How do I know?  Who Am I?  How do I want to construct relationships with others?

 (Evans et al.,2010, p.184).

There are four phases in this theory towards self – authorship…
Phase 1: Following Formulas
Phase 2: Crossroads
Phase 3: Becoming the Author of One’s Life
Phase 4: Internal Foundation

From the start, parents usually have an large influence in where the students are going to college. I know I personally knew nothing more than Baylor… I grew up watching my father bleed Green and Gold why would I not also? I would not change it.. but I also did not explore much of anything else. I take this in account when working with students, especially in their sophomore year. This is where they start the “crossroads” phase usually. They are unhappy with their major, their boyfriend etc. what ever the crossroads may be, we as higher education professionals have to be extremely aware of this phase and help them form and grow into the next phase. Phase 3 is one of the most rewarding to be a part of as the students are develop their own morals, their own strengths. The pressure’s from high school start to loose grip and they become confident in themselves. I personally can feel close to home on this aspect also due to my parents and I butting heads plenty towards the end of college. Phase 4 is also amazing to me as I love lasting relationships and being intentional with my students and co- workers. This phase touches on being grounded in your own belief system. My mother to this day says, ” You are an adult and have learned to form your own opinions from your personal experiences.” I like to cling to the word GRIT in this instance.

After the reflection of this weeks discussion board, I would say to summarize how I feel this Student Development Theory best relates to me is that I am extremely passionate about the fact that in order to develop self-authorship, students need to build their confidence in all aspects of their life, building a foundation inner voice. I love nothing more than being a little piece of encouraging that inner voice.
“Students who worked with advisers who encouraged reflection in goal setting and intentional planning and discussed with students their nonacademic life experiences were more likely to develop abilities and perspectives associated with self-authorship” (Evans et al., 190).