Student Development Theory in Higher Education : A Social Psychological Approach book cover
1st Edition

Student Development Theory in Higher Education
A Social Psychological Approach

ISBN 9780415836630
Published December 10, 2015 by Routledge
186 Pages

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Book Description

Moving beyond the theories traditionally used to describe college student development, this engaging book introduces social psychological theories that address the most relevant issues in higher education today. Covering theories of ecological systems, sense of belonging, prejudice and discrimination, positive psychology, social capital, personality theory, mentoring, and hope theory, this book promotes the understanding and application of social psychological theories to various higher education contexts. Examples from diverse student populations encourage learners’ application to situations in their own contexts. Comprehensive enough to be used as a main text but accessible enough to be used alongside another, this important textbook bridges research, theory, and practice to help practicing and aspiring higher education and student affairs professionals effectively work with college students.

Special Features Include:

• Reflective exercises that combine theory and practice and help students apply their knowledge solving problems.

• Case studies and scenarios for further connections to the reader’s university and college settings.

• Guiding questions that encourage students to think beyond the current literature and practice.

• List of further readings and references for readers to explore topics in more depth.

Table of Contents



Part I: Background of Theory

1. Introducing...A Social Psychological Approach

2. What’s Theory Anyway?

Part II: Applications of Theory to Practice

3. Ecological Systems Theory: An Ethnographic "Glimpse"

4. Sense of Belonging in College: A Fresh Perspective

5. Group Contact Theory: Prejudice & Discrimination

6. Grit and Hardiness: A Social Psychological View of Positivity

7. Personality Theory: Three Little Pigs & Big-Five Traits

8. Mentoring: Mutual Benefits, Separate Roles

9. Hope Theory: Evidence of Things Not Seen…

10. Social Influence: How Others Shape Us and Our Aspirations

11. Epilogue

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Terrell L. Strayhorn is Professor of Urban Education, Provost, and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Virginia Union University, USA.


"Strayhorn's talent for communicating ideas and structuring learning experiences is evident in this scholarly treasure. Like a master teacher, he creatively weaves together analyses, personal stories, case studies, and an assortment of exercises to present fresh frameworks and foundational ideas that bolster our understanding of college student development. This is a wonderful teaching tool for students, faculty, and practitioners who are interested in thoughtful, theory-based research and practice." 

--Peter C. Mather, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Ohio University

"This reader-friendly text serves as a valuable complement to the standard readings used in courses on the college student experience as it provides in-depth coverage of topics not typically covered in these readings. Instructors and students will find useful the reflective exercises, case studies, guiding questions, research tips, and list of further readings that accompany each chapter."

--John M. Braxton, Professor of Education of Higher Education Leadership and Policy, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University