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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Martin T Howell
EDLPS 598
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Higher Education

Readings, lectures, and discussions pertaining to significant topics of special and current interest to educators. Focus is on issues related to education in community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities. Topics vary.

Class description

College Student Development: Translating Theory to Practice

The major criticism of student development theory as a body of knowledge has been, and continues to be, the lack of translation of those theories to professional practice in institutions of higher education. In this course we will address that challenge by examining the past and present application of these theories and asking students to develop their own guiding principles for using them in appropriate ways.

We will begin with a survey of the major theories that assess and explain the cognitive, psychosocial, and moral development of college students. We will also consider the typology theories that look at the fit between the characteristics of the student and the characteristics of the institutional environment. Using scholarly readings and program descriptions, we will then investigate the issues surrounding the translation of theory to practice. Finally, students will use case studies of programs at local institutions to explore how student development theories are applied - or not applied - in planning, implementing, and assessing programs.

Additional Information: * Full Term: Mondays only, June 20 - August 15 * Add Code required * GRADUATE STUDENTS ONLY * FOR ADD CODE EMAIL EDLPS@U.WASHINGTON.EDU OR CALL 206.543.1836.

Student learning goals

To gain a richer understanding of the major student development theories and the emergent research around those theories.

To become better informed and more critical consumers of theoretical constructs and of research claims.

To develop guiding principles for using student development theories in appropriate ways.

To investigate the issues surrounding the translation of student development theory to student development practice.

To observe and evaluate how student development theories are applied - or not applied - in planning, implementing, and assessing actual programs.

General method of instruction

Seminar course; readings, discussions, presentations.

Recommended preparation

This course is appropriate both for students who are new to this topic as well as students who have studied student development theory previously and want to further delve into questions of translating theory to practice.

Class assignments and grading

Grades evaluating students' academic performance in this course will be based on class participation/contribution, an interview assignment and report, a case study assignment with associated papers, and other smaller written assignments.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Martin T Howell
Date: 06/14/2011