EAD 991b: Advanced Seminar in College Student Development

Higher, Adult, & Lifelong Education

Michigan State University


Fall 2005


Dr. Kristen Renn                                                 Office Hours:

428 Erickson Hall                                                Monday 1-3 & Thursday 3:30-5 pm  

353-5979 (office)                                                (sign up on my door)

349-0797 (home)                                               or by appointment

email: renn@msu.edu                                                          





EAD 991b: Advanced Seminar in College Student Development addresses psychological, sociological, and historical approaches to the study of college student development. Assuming that students come to the course with a foundational knowledge of traditional student development theories (e.g., Astin, Chickering, Tinto, etc.), we will concentrate instead on the underlying theoretical families from which the commonly used models for student development are derived. We will also examine how these approaches are put into practice in the study of two lesser-taught domains of student development (intercultural competence and character development) and two populations of college students (students from the "millennial" generation and those who engage in international experiences). An emphasis is placed on critical reading, writing, and class participation. As an advanced seminar, the course includes a requirement for each student to lead class discussion and to complete a research paper (literature based or empirical) on a student development topic of her/his choice, as well as the option to write a book review.





Gergen, K. J. (1991). The saturated self: Dilemmas of identity in contemporary life. New York: Basic Books.


Horowitz, H. L. (1987), Campus life: Undergraduate cultures from the end of the eighteenth century to the present. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.


Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.



Additional readings have been scanned into PDF files, with URLs or instructions for accessing indicated on syllabus.





We will be reading substantial parts of the following books, which you may want to purchase or to check out of the library (MSU or interlibrary loan) for the semester:


Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Swartz, D. (1997). Culture and power: The sociology of Pierre Bordieu. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.




Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). 2001. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.





If you do not have ready access to the Chronicle of Higher Education, you may want to consider getting your own subscription. If you already subscribe but do not receive the daily electronic news updates, you may want to activate this service now (it is free to Chronicle subscribers; go to the website to get instructions on how to get the daily news service).


The Chronicle maintains an excellent website that is free whether or not you subscribe to their newspaper. Some of its links are restricted to Chronicle subscribers, but most are not. The MSU library maintains a subscription, and through the library website you can access all online portions of the Chronicle.





www.apastyle.org/index.html (APA style manual home page)

www.acenet.edu (American Council on Education)

www.naspa.org (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators)

www. myacpa.org (Association of College Personnel Administrators)

www. chronicle.com (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

www.aahe.org (American Association for Higher Education)

www.ashe.missouri.edu (Association for the Study of Higher Education)

www.aera.net/divisions/j (Division J: Postsecondary Education of the American Educational Research Association)

www.Studentaffairs.com (a private site with excellent links, including instructions to sign up for listservs related to student affairs)

www.Higher-Ed.org (a private higher ed resource site; links to many useful and interesting higher ed sites)








1.  Readings and topical assignments.

You should come to class ready to discuss all readings. Although it is not required, some students find it helpful to prepare questions or comments on each reading.

Periodically I will assign an exercise or other preparation to be done prior to the next class session. These assignments will form the basis of class discussion and group work. Because readings and topical assignments are critical to active class participation, your grade in this area will be reflected in your participation grade.


2.  Active participation in class discussions. (15%)

The success of a small seminar depends on the preparation and participation of all members every week. Active participation requires attendance, preparation (through readings and topical assignments), and willingness to contribute to discussions in a variety of group configurations (pairs, small groups, entire class, etc.). After the first occurence, absence from any class will result in a deduction in your grade in this area, at a rate of 1 percentage point for any session missed in whole or in part.


3.  Leading a class discussion. (10%)

Each student will sign up for a day to lead discussion of the assigned readings. I am available to consult on your plans for the discussion, but it is not necessary to consult in advance.


4. OPTIONAL:  Book review (10% - deduct 10% from research paper)

The purpose of this assignment is to provide an opportunity for those students who would like to review a book that may or may not relate to the topic of their research paper/literature review (see below). Also, some students want to get practice writing in this professional genre or may have the opportunity to submit this essay for publication in a journal. If you elect this option, choose a book from the list posted in ANGEL. Write a 1000-1500 word book review of the sort that would appear in a journal. Briefly summarize the content, clearly articulate the book’s connection to issues of diversity and equity in higher education, relate it to other relevant literature, and point out its strengths and weaknesses. If you need examples of what a book review should look like, see the Review of Higher Education or the Journal of Higher Education. Book reviews are due on or before November 30.


5. Research paper/Literature review (65%, or 55% if you choose to write a book review)

The purpose of this assignment is to provide an opportunity for deep, thoughtful work on a student development topic of particular interest to the student. The paper can be empirical, in which you collect a small amount of qualitative or quantitative data, analyze it, and present results, or literature-based, in which you conduct a comprehensive review of the literature in an area of student development. Alternately, you might do an applied research project that relates to a particular professional context related to student development (e.g., leadership development programs, programs or services for students from a particular identity group) or a particular group of students (e.g., student athletes, underrepresented students, adult learners, gifted and talented students, etc.) An empirical paper or applied research project should resemble a journal article; a literature review should be of the kind required in a dissertation. Papers will vary in length depending on topic and approach; at a minimum, I would expect a literature review to be about 20 pages of text (not counting title page and references) and a research report to be at least the same. If you anticipate your project exceeding 35 pages of text, we should talk about it early and make a plan for completion. I encourage you to select whichever one will help you best meet your goals and move you forward in your graduate program. In any case, the paper is due in stages, as outlined below:


• Topic and brief description and/or research question/purpose statement: Due September 14. Topics must relate to college student development. They may focus on any postsecondary sector(s) (e.g., community colleges, four-year institutions, research institutions; public, private, non-sectarian, for profit, religiously-affiliated, etc.) and any population of students (traditional, adult, international, first-generation, etc.; an identity-based group such as students from a racial or ethnic group, gender identity, social class, etc.). 

• A research design for an empirical study (e.g., data collection and analysis plan and rationale) or applied research project is due October 5. You should conduct a brief literature review prior to planning your study and submitting your design.

• A list of probable sources for a literature review paper is due on October 26. Sources may include journal articles, books, book chapters, websites (be careful of credibility), popular media (also be careful of credibility), and others. You can organize this list by topic (e.g., background information, current data, conflicting viewpoints, trends, predictions, etc.) or some other means (alphabetically, by type of source, etc.). You should have at least 20 sources in this preliminary list; you can add additional sources for the final document, and you may decide not to include some from this preliminary list. Please indicate your topic at the top of your list of probable sources.

• Between November 9 and November 15 we will have a one-on-one consultation about your paper and your progress towards its completion. Plan to spend 30 minutes with me going over any questions you have or roadblocks you’ve encountered, as well as showing me what you’ve done and your plan for completing the project.

• Complete paper is due on December 14. You will also give an 8-10 minute presentation on your paper that day.



6. Three short essays reflecting on your goals for yourself and the course (1-2 pages each). (10%)

-Essay I: Self and course objectives: Due in class on 9/7.

-Essay II: Midsemester self and course evaluation: Due in class 10/12.

-Essay III: End of semester self and course evaluation: Due to ANGEL dropbox by noon on 12/16.

Note: These essays are ungraded (i.e., treated on a credit/no credit basis) and may take alternative forms, such as bulleted lists.



In class, you will receive more explicit instructions for completing course assignments. Please ask if you have questions regarding how you will be evaluated in this course.


All papers should be double-spaced in 12-point Times font with margins of 1 inch. They should always fall within the page range listed in the syllabus.


All citations and reference lists should conform to the style manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition).


Note on absences and late assignments:

         Class attendance is required and is included in the class participation grade. Nevertheless, students may occasionally need to absent themselves from class meetings for reasons of illness, family, or work. In fairness to students who attend and participate in every class session, after the first occurrence, an absence for any reason other than those noted below will result in a reduction in the absent student’s class participation grade. This reduction is on the order of 1 point (of total for all assignments) per class missed. For example, if you miss one session but are otherwise present on time and actively contributing, you would receive 14 of the 15 possible points for participation (out of the 100 total points for the course). For the purposes of this policy, being late to class or leaving early for any reason constitutes an absence and will result in a 1 point reduction in accumulated points toward your final grade. Important note:  The participation grade is not merely a grade for attending class – participation credit is earned through active involvement in class discussions, small and large groups, and so forth.

         Whenever it is possible, advance notice of absences is appreciated. An email message or phone call to someone who will be in class (instructor or student) is generally adequate to keep us from worrying about you. If you were unable to contact someone prior to the missed class, please contact me as soon as possible afterwards to learn of any assignments, announcements, etc.

         Absence from class to observe a religious holiday, to serve jury duty, to participate in required military service, or to take comprehensive exams in your graduate program are exceptions to the above policy. If you anticipate being absent for any of these reasons, please make arrangements with me in advance and there will be no deduction in your grade.

         All assignments are expected during the session noted on the syllabus. Unless prior arrangements have been made with me, late submissions may not be accepted and may result in a grade of 0 for that assignment. Grades for late submissions that are accepted may be reduced.


Evaluation of assignments:

Assignments earning an A grade will be of excellent quality, reflecting critical thinking, creativity, and mastery of course material. They will be well organized and clear. They will be free of errors in syntax, grammar, and APA format. An A- grade might result from minor deductions in any of these areas.


Assignments earning a B grade will be of good quality, reflecting a solid grasp of the course material and clear, well-organized writing style. They might contain some errors in syntax, grammar, or APA format, but will not be seriously flawed. A B- grade might result from more significant reductions in these areas.


Assignments earning a C grade will be of acceptable quality, reflecting familiarity with course material. They might contain weaknesses in organization and errors in syntax, grammar, or APA format. A C- grade might result from more severe weaknesses.


Assignments earning below a C- are unacceptable and will receive no credit.


Course grades:

The grading system at MSU is on a four-point scale, with course grades reported in half points (4.0, 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, etc.). Any grade below a 3.0 is a sign of serious problems for continued graduate work and merits discussion with me and/or your academic advisor. For the purposes of assigning a final grade, the following table applies:

         94-100 points =     4.0

         88-93 points  =     3.5

         81-87 points =      3.0

         74-80 points =      2.5

         73 or fewer points =        0 (no credit for course)



A note for students with disabilities:

If you require any accommodation or services, please inform me or contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (www.msu.edu/unit/rcpd), 120 Bessey, 353-9642.


Additional MSU resources:

- The Graduate School (www.msu.edu/user/gradschl.), 118 Linton, 355-0301

- Learning Resources Center (www.msu.edu/unit/lrc), 209J Bessey, 355-2363

- Ombuds' Office (www.msu.edu/unit/ombud), 129 North Kedzie, 353-8830

- Writing Center (http://writing.msu.edu), 300 Bessey, 432-3610



**indicates possible dates for student-led seminars


August 31 – Introduction




September 7 – The Postmodern Condition and Beyond


         Readings for today:

- Gergen, K. The saturated self.  Everyone reads Preface and Chapters 1-3; then be prepared to lead discussion of assigned chapter (one of 4-9)


         Assignment due: Self/course goals essay 1


September 14 – Levels of Cognitive, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal Complexity


         Readings for today:

Kegan, R. In over our heads, Chapters 1-5 (pp. 1-197)


         Assignment due: Research paper/lit review topic



September 21 – In Over Our Heads, Continued


Readings for today:

- Kegan, R. In over our heads, Chapters 6, 8, 9 (pp. 198-233 and 271-334)


Supplemental reading:

- Kegan, R. In over our heads, Chapters 7 (pp. 234-270)




**September 28 – Self-Authorship Unpacked; Adult Development


Readings for today:

- Creamer, E. G., & Laughlin, A. (2005). Self-authorship and women’s career decision making. Journal of College Student Development, 46 (1), 13-27. [access online via library]

- Pizzolato, J. E. (2003). Developing self-authorship: Exploring the experiences of high-risk college students. Journal of College Student Development, 44, 797-812. [ANGEL]

- Lewis, P., Forsythe, G. B., Sweeney, P., Bartone, P., Bullis, C., & Snook, S. (2005). Identity development during the college years: Findings from the West Point longitudinal study. Journal of College Student Development, 46, 357-373. [access online via library]

- Levenson, M. R., Aldwin, C. M., & Cupertino, A. P. (2001). Transcending the self: Toward a liberative model of adult development. In A. L. Neri (Ed.), Maturidade & velhice: Um enfoque multidisclinar  (pp. 99-116). Sao Paulo, BR: Papirus. Retrieved August 16, 2005 from: http://hcd.ucdavis.edu/faculty/aldwin/Transcending.pdf  [ANGEL]



**October 5 – An Ecology Model of Human Development


Readings for today:

- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.  Read pp. 3-44 [ANGEL]

- Renn, K. A. (2004). Mixed race students in college: The ecology of race, identity, and community. Albany: State University of New York Press.  Read pp. 27-52 [ANGEL]

- Renn, K. A., & Arnold, K. D. (2003). Reconceptualizing research on college student peer culture. Journal of Higher Education, 74, 261-291.


Supplemental reading:

- Bronfenbrenner, U.   (1979). Chapters 3-5 (pp. 45-108) and/or Chapters 9-11 (pp. 209-294)



         Assignment due: Research design due for empirical/applied research project option






**October 12 – Sociological Approaches to Self and Identity 


Readings for today:

- Cerulo, K. A. (1997). Identity construction: New issues, new directions. Annual Review of Sociology, 23, 385-409. [ANGEL]

- Rockquemore, K. A. (2002). Negotiating the color line: The gendered process of identity construction among Black/White biracial women. Gender and Society, 16, 485-503. [ANGEL]

- Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Cultural variation in the self-concept. In J. Strauss & G. R. Goethals (Eds.), The self: Interdisciplinary approaches. New York: Springer-Verlag. [ANGEL]

- Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. X-x). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing. [ANGEL]


         Assignment due: Self/course goals essay II



**October 19 – Social Capital and Cultural Capital


Readings for today:

- Swartz, D. (1997). Culture and power: The sociology of Pierre Bordieu. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  CHAPTERS TBA







**October 26 – Multiculturalism, Interculturalism, and Critical Postmodernism


Readings for today:

- Tanaka, G. (2002). Higher education’s self-reflective turn: Toward an intercultural theory of student development. Journal of Higher Education, 73(2), 263-296. [ANGEL]

- Tierney, W. G. (1994). Multiculturalism in higher education: An organizational framework for analysis. Center for the Study of Higher Education. University Park: Pennsylvania State University. [ED 371675]  [ANGEL]

- Ortiz, A. M. (2000). Expressing cultural identity in the learning community: Opportunities and challenges. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 82, 67-79. [access via library e-journals]

- Bloland, H. G. (2005). Whatever happened to postmodernism in higher education?: No requiem in the new millennium. Journal of Higher Education, 76, 121-150. [access via library electronic journals]


Supplemental reading:

- Tierney, W. G.  Building communities of difference: Higher education in the twenty-first century. New York: Bergin & Garvey.


         Assignment due: List of probably sources for literature review paper option






**November 2 – Historical Context of Student Development


Readings for today:

Horowitz, Campus life, Preface and Chapters 1-5 and Chapter 12; then be prepared to lead discussion of assigned chapter (one of 6-11)



**November 9 – Historical Approaches to Studying Students and Student Development


Readings for today:

- Coomes, M. D. (2004). Understanding the historical and cultural forces that shape generations. New Directions for Student Services, 106, 17-31. [access via library e-journals]

- Strange, C. C. (2004). Constructions of student development across the generations. New Directions for Student Services, 106, 47-57. [access via library e-journals]

- Nidiffer, J. (1999). Poor historiography: The “poorest” in American higher education. Higher of Education Quarterly, 39(3), 321-336. [ANGEL]

- Dilley, P. (2005). Which way out? A Typology of non-heterosexual male collegiate identities. Journal of Higher Education, 76, 56-88. [access via library]

- Miller, P. B. (1995). To “Bring the race along rapidly”: Sport, student culture, and educational mission at historically Black colleges during the interwar years. History of Education Quarterly, 35 (2), 111-133. [ANGEL]





*Individual meetings with Kris about your paper/project, scheduled between November 9 and November 15



November 23           - Thanksgiving tomorrow – NO CLASS






**November 30 – Character Development: An Emerging Domain of Student Development


         Readings for today:

- Strange, C. C. (2004). Measuring up: Defining and assessing outcomes of character in college. New Directions for Institutional Research, 122, 25-36. [access via library e-journals]

- Astin, H. S., & Antonio, A. L. (2004). The impact of college on character development. New Directions for Institutional Research, 122, 55-64. [access via library e-journals]

- Mahoney, S. L., & Schamber, J. F. (2004). Exploring the application of a developmental model of intercultural sensitivity to a general education curriculum on diversity. Journal of General Education, 53, 311-334. [ANGEL]

- Lopez, F. G., Chervinko, S., Strom, T., Hsu, P., Kinney, J., & Bradley, M. (2005). What does it mean to be an adult? A qualitative study of college students perceptions and coping processes. Journal of College and Character, 2. Download from: http://www.collegevalues.org/articles.cfm


Supplemental readings:

- Holcomb, G. L., & Nonneman, A. J. (2004). Faithful change: Exploring and assessing faith development in Christian liberal arts undergraduates. New Directions for Institutional Research, 122, 93-103. [access via library e-journals]

- Sax, L. J. (2004). Citizenship development and the American college student. New Directions for Institutional Research, 122, 65-80. [access via library e-journals]


         Assignment due: Optional book review due



**December 7 – Two Student Contexts: Students from the ‘Millennial’ Generation and Students Participating in International Educational Experiences


         Readings for today:

- DeBard, R. (2004). Millennials coming to college. New Directions for Student Services, 106, 33-45. [access via library e-journals]

- Wilson, M. E. (2004). Teaching, learning, and millennial students. New Directions for Student Services, 106, 59-71. [access via library e-journals]

- Ryan, M. E., & Twibell, R. S. (2000). Concerns, values, stress, coping, health and educational outcomes of college students who studied abroad. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24, 409-435. [ANGEL]

- Soeters, J. L., & Recht, R. (2001). Convergence or divergence in the multinational classroom?: Experiences from the military. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 25, 423-440. [ANGEL]

-Talburt, S., & Stewart, M. A. (1999). What’s the subject of study abroad?: Race, gender, and living culture. The Modern Language Journal, 83, 163-175. [ANGEL]


Supplemental readings:

Broido, E. M. (2004). Understanding diversity in millennial students. New Directions for Student Services, 106, 73-85. [access via library e-journals]



December 14 – Final Class meeting

            - papers due and oral presentation of final papers

         - final Self/course goals essay due by noon on Friday, 12/16 to ANGEL dropbox