ERIC Identifier: ED321791
Publication Date: 1989-12-00
Author: Hernandez, Kathleen Rodarte
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse for Junior Colleges Los Angeles CA.
Are New Models of Student Development Needed? ERIC
As the mission of community colleges changed and expanded, so too did
the roles and functions of student development professionals. However,
the models providing a theoretical framework for the profession have remained
relatively unchanged. From the 1900's well into the 1950's, student development
professionals were viewed as surrogate parents, ensuring students' welfare
and proper behavior. The perception that this is an appropriate role for
the student development professional lingers today. This digest will discuss
the issues currently faced by student services professionals, the models
proposed to address them, and the practical application of these models.
STUDENT DEVELOPMENT MODELS
In 1937, the American Council on Education published the Student Personnel
Point of View Statement, the first national guideline for student development
practice. The statement declared that student development professionals
were to facilitate the intellectual, personal, social, and moral development
of the student (Leach, 1989). A number of theoretical models have since
evolved, as student services professionals attempted to integrate theory
The Human Development Facilitator. In 1972, O'Banion and Thurston proposed
a model of the student personnel worker as committed to positive human
development, possessing the skills and expertise needed to implement programs
for the realization of human potential. Other aspects of the model included
a decentralized and participative administration; shared responsibility
by all college divisions for student development; encounter groups focusing
on students' self-examination of their values, attitudes, beliefs, and
abilities; and the involvement of student personnel workers in community
outreach, the promotion of student participation in campus life and the
education of their peers, and guardianship against oppressive institutional
The Maintenance Model. This model reduces the student development function
to an unintegrated set of services available through various offices of
the college, including admissions, registration, financial assistance,
orientation, and counseling. McConnell's 1965 report to the Carnegie Foundation
listed 36 different student personnel functions as essential to the community
college. More recently, a taxonomy of student services developed for the
California community colleges identified 106 core activities (O'Banion,
1989). While serving practical purposes, these kinds of listings obscure
the philosophical basis for the student personnel profession.
The American College Personnel Association Model. In 1975, the Association
released a position paper entitled "A Student Development Model for Student
Affairs in Tomorrow's Higher Education." This paper significantly influenced
the development of the student personnel function. As applied at the Dallas
County Community College District, this model emphasizes the intentional
and systematic use of adult development theories in carrying out assigned
function; the development of the skills and attitudes needed for lifelong
learning; the creation of an environment conducive to student development;
and the integration of learning experiences (O'Banion, 1989).
The League for Innovation in the Community College Model. In 1986, the
League developed a statement, "Assuring Student Success in the Community
College: The Role of Student Development Professionals," to provide a framework
for the further evolution of the student development profession (Doucette
and Dayton, 1989). The statement reaffirms the principles of student development
established in previous years and recommends minimum requirements for assuring
student success. It asserts that community colleges must: monitor student
intake, progress, and outcome; encourage student involvement with the campus;
coordinate their programs with other secondary schools, business, and industry;
and implement staff development programs to assure that all staff possess
an organizational culture and ethic that supports the institutional mission.
The League statement lists specific activities that student development
professionals must undertake in order to achieve these goals. Other writers
suggest that strong and effective leadership will be required before this
plan or any other new model can be put into action. Creamer (1989) contends
that leadership is the greatest single deficiency in student affairs today.
He argues that too many people in leadership positions lack the foresight,
vision, and skills needed to move the student development enterprise in
a new direction.
THE CHALLENGE OF REFORM
In the coming decade, several challenges will influence the future direction
of the nation's community colleges and the philosophical and theoretical
framework of the student development profession.
The Quality Reformation. During the 1980's, several national commissions
offered a variety of criticisms of and recommendations for higher education
that have clear implications for student development, including those urging
colleges to increase their expectations of students, become more directive,
provide more information to students, and uphold high academic standards.
Another result of this renewed emphasis on quality has been the reinstatement
of placement testing as a central function of student services.
Educational Technology. McCabe (1989) suggests that student services
should depend heavily on information technology for accurate and timely
information in order to offer good advice and direction to students, to
accurately monitor their progress, to give continual feedback, and to provide
the correct intervention strategy based on accurate information.
Financial Constraints. Commonly, student personnel functions feel budget
cuts earlier and more strongly than other college programs and services.
Some student development professionals are addressing financial problems
by implementing fee-based services, differential staffing, cooperative
programs with community groups, and efforts to explore alternative funding
sources (O'Banion, 1989).
Changes in Institutional Mission. A number of external forces are influencing
the community college's mission. The federal government and several state
governments are stressing the role of community colleges in economic development
and vocational training. Florida is dealing with the question of the appropriateness
of remedial education as a community college function, and California has
virtually eliminated public funding for community service courses. If the
mission of community colleges changes, so too will the mission of student
Enrollment Management. McCabe (1989) predicts a significant role for
student services in the following aspects of enrollment management: (1)
data collection about the place of the college within the community, the
interests of students, influences on college choice, and student perceptions
of the strengths and weaknesses of the college; (2) a comprehensive plan
for the college's interaction with students from the time they first inquire
about the college until they register; and (3) monitoring students' responses
to the college's programs and services.
Student development professionals will continue to play an important
role in promoting the mission and goals of their institutions. The demands
and constraints of the past decade will require the development of innovative
strategies and practices to address the requirements of the future. The
1990's will provide student development professionals with the challenge
to forge new models for the delivery of student services, well grounded
in theory and appropriate in practice.
Most of the articles cited in this digest appeared in "Perspectives
on Student Development," edited by William L. Deegan and Terry O'Banion.
This monograph is number 67 of the NEW DIRECTIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES
series, published in 1989 by Jossey-Bass. The essays cited are:
Creamer, Donald. "Changing Internal Conditions: Impact on Student Development,"
Doucette, Donald S., and Dayton, Linda L. "A Framework for Student Development
Practices: A Statement of the League for Innovation in the Community College,"
Leach, Ernest. "Student Development and College Services: A Focus on
McCabe, Robert. "Future Direction for Student Services: A View from
the Top," p85-92.
O'Banion, Terry. "Student Development Philosophy: A Perspective on the
Past and Future," p5-18.
McConnell, Thomas E. "Junior College Student Personnel Programs--Appraisal
and Development." Report to the Carnegie Corporation. Washington, DC: American
Association of Junior Colleges, 1965.
O'Banion, Terry, and Thurston, Alice. "Student Development Programs
in the Community Junior College." Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall,