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College Student Development

Laurie A. Schreiner

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


College student development is a field of study as well as a philosophy of higher education that emphasizes holistic growth and optimal functioning among college students. Students are viewed as unique individuals whose growth is enhanced by campus programs and services that integrate the social, intellectual, physical, and spiritual components of their development. The entire college experience, whether in or out of the classroom, is seen as the learning environment that contributes to the students' development. Prior to the late nineteenth century, American higher education viewed its responsibility as educating the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Faculty expected to shape their students' character as well as their intellect. As universities experienced rapid growth and change during the early twentieth century, professional student affairs positions were developed to oversee students' social development and the faculty's role was narrowed to intellectual development. As early psychological theories influenced the culture, theories of students' development began to flourish. These theories varied in their emphasis and focus and can be categorized as one of four basic types: cognitive-structural, psychosocial, typological, and person-environment interaction. The cognitive-structural theories of college student development are based on the theories of Piaget and Kohlberg. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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