HIED 66653: College Student Development

Catalog Description:

This course provides an opportunity for in-depth study of theories related to the development of college students. Through reading, discussion, reflection and research, students will co-construct knowledge and increased understanding of the complexities of student development and the application of these theories in post-secondary education. Specific attention will be given to considering how sex, gender, racial-ethnic heritage, sexual orientation, age, ability/disability and social class contribute to the identity development of college students.


In my College Student Development course, I learned about a myriad of identity development, psycho-social development, and typology theories that have helped me in my work with students already. Besides the typological theories I use daily in the career development office, I also learned about the many student development stage and progression theories. Morality and identity development theories have also been particularly helpful in my work within the residence halls, and as a student conduct officer.


Upon successful completion of the course, class participants will:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of psychosocial, cognitive-structural, person-environment, and typological theories of student development in higher education;

    • Understand a diversity of identity dimensions contributing to the development of college students (i.e. race, age, sexuality, social class, dis/ability, gender);

    • Analyze the application of diverse developmental theories to student affairs practice in colleges and universities;

    • Analyze one's own development in relation to theory; and

    • Apply developmental theory to student interactions and program development in higher education.

Key Assignments:

Autobiography – Over the course of three revisions, I reflected upon my own experience in higher education and my development over the course of those four years. As I revised my autobiography, I evaluated my own development in the light of student development theories.

Design a Student Development Theory Training Workshop – As a group, we developed a training workshop on a set of student development theories for faculty at a hypothetical institution. We investigated gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender identity development theories in particular, and designed a workshop, complete with learning outcomes, planned activities, and presentation materials. We were commended by the professor for the strength of our proposal.