Deeper Learning in Leadership: Helping College Students Find the Potential Within

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Because of the successful example of the use of industrialization for war, other organizations believed that they could become more efcient and effective if they used similar techniques. The value of expertise and specialization were lauded throughout the military, government, business, and education.

Higher education followed suit through increasing bureaucratization. Student personnel began to shift from a shared institutional responsibility to the narrow purview of a de ned staff of student personnel workers. This shift was. It was only natural that the statement would reect the societal conditions present in a postwar environment of industrialism. War veterans returned from service to begin new lives of work, family and the pursuit of prosperity.

The resulting baby boom created the demand for more jobs, and expansion of housing, schools, and many other services. Mass production, organization, and bureaucratization were embraced as the only way that these demands could be fullled. Higher education adopted similar strategies based on the assumption that specialized functions, addressed by trained individuals with special expertise, would be most effective.

In fact, the statement outlined specic organizational entities that needed to be established, including such areas as admissions, orientation, advising, study skills development, housing, activities, sports and recreation, counseling, religious life, nancial management, discipline, and work placement. The statement did not dictate organizational structures to address these functions, but it did propose that there should be specialized individuals or distinct bureaus available to address all these areas and that responsibility in providing the service or function should be clearly dened.

The influence of the statement was complemented by changes in the broader academic community. All of higher education was becoming more bureaucratic as a result of the sheer numbers of students coming to college. The period from through the s has been characterized as the Golden Age by those who reflect on the growing prominence and stature of higher education during this time Thelin, Faculty size grew exponentially to meet student demand and the academic arena became more and more segmented as a result.

New disciplines were established, areas of applied practice became ever more prevalent, and faculty started to focus almost exclusively on students intellectual needs. Deans and student personnel staffs were all too willing to take on more responsibility for the affairs of students outside of.

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Professionalization of student personnel work tapped multiple disciplines that could inform the functional responsibilities that each staff member might have. Counselors would be trained in psychology.


Housing staff would be trained in management. Program staff would be trained in organizational behavior and leadership. The contributions of these disciplines enhanced the capability and expertise of staff, but the wide range of disciplinary perspectives made it more difcult to keep the core commitments of student personnel work central in everyones minds. Specialization, bureaucratization, and professionalization of student personnel work stimulated one additional and very powerful dynamic.

The Golden Age of higher education created massive growth in physical facilities, faculty, staff, and programs. This growth required resources. The deans, along with those who now held such titles as director and vice president, controlled administrative areas that were being drawn into institutional competition for larger budgets, staffs, and facilities.

These resources, and the power they represented, served only to exaggerate the growing chasm between faculty, with their waning holistic attention to students experiences, and the student personnel staffs, who were willing to address and work within the emerging gap between student life in class and student life outside the classroom.

Ironically, the growing resources that could have been used to enhance institutional effectiveness began to widen the separation between faculty and staff. The emerging bureaucratic and political systems were in place and protected these organizational divisions. Personnel Work as Deeper Teaching , a book espousing student personnel work as a catalyst for a return to the holistic treatment of students among all educators. Esther Lloyd-Jones and Margaret Ruth Smith edited Student Personnel Work as Deeper Teaching during a historic period when the focus of student personnel work was shifting to what in retrospect has been recognized as the student services era.

Interestingly enough, Lloyd-Jones served on both of the American Council on Education committees that drafted the statement and the revision. Even though she had been part of the shift advocated in , she quickly saw the dangers inherent in the proposed recommendations.

Lloyd-Jones and Smiths essential proposition was that student personnel work should return to a focus on disseminating and sharing the responsibility for student welfare. They stated, Student personnel workers should not so much be expert technicians as they should be educators in a somewhat unconventional and new sense.

Student personnel workers have many opportunities through their work to contribute to the development of students, to help them learn many lessons and skills of vital importance for their fulllment as whole persons within a democratic society. Perhaps their most important opportunities are more indirect than direct and exist in their collaborative work with faculty members toward these ends p.

Their purpose was not to say that student personnel staffs should be dismantled. The complexity of higher education had become so great that a return to the colonial college of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was impossible. However, Lloyd-Jones and Smith offered a warning as well as an alternative way for student personnel work to remain an institutional priority. Student Personnel Work as Deeper Teaching included chapters by other authors who addressed the various functional areas that had emerged by Each chapter positioned the service or administrative function in the context of deepening learning.

The chapter. Financial Realities and Resources, by Paul Bulger, effectively illustrates this point. In order to derive the deeper learning with which this book is concerned, nancial aid becomes a counseling process rather than merely a service of appropriating money to students. The fact that these authors asserted in that nancial aid should be informed by counseling and development perspectives is ironic when contemporary circumstances are adding greater debt burden to students lives, without providing much assistance in determining if and how students might begin to manage their debt.

Lloyd-Jones, Smith, and their colleagues urged campuses to approach student personnel work as a catalyst in the college or university, a broker of experience, and an integrator of students various educational endeavors. They proposed five conditions that would indicate that a campus demonstrated a commitment to deepening learning: Student personnel workers and teachers would work together as educators to accomplish common objectives. Cooperative programs by faculty, student personnel workers, and students would be designed to improve the campus communities in which they shared membership; programs would be centered in the small, natural communities of the campus.

Deeper learning would be emphasized by both students and staff; group life and conditions for growth for all students would be improved through consultation among all those affected. Participation and cooperation would be expected.

Deeper Learning in Leadership: Helping College Students Find the Potential Within

There would be a concern for the quality of human relations in the community. These conditions were straightforward and challenging. They were relevant in , and they may be even more relevant today. The reality is that the student services focus continued to dominate during most of the s and s.

Even when the student services era which emphasized the creation of a functional area for each aspect of the college experience yielded to the student development movement of the s and beyond which emphasized the exploration of ways to help students achieve personal, intellectual, and social growth , the distinct and organizationally cloistered emphasis of student personnel work never returned to the idea of student personnel work as a shared responsibility as advocated by Lloyd-Jones and Smith. The compelling relevance of deeper teaching has been more recently advocated in the ideas and principles of several national studies and think-tank papers.

Although these statements have not explicitly acknowledged derivation from the core ideas of Student Personnel Work as Deeper Teaching, it doesnt take much to see their symmetry. Nancy Evans and Robert Reason analyzed thirteen different statements from through for consistency of themes and focus.

Deeper learning in leadership: Helping college students find the potential within

Nine of the twelve themes in their model are broadly endorsed in all. These themes include commitment to a holistic perspective, attention to individual differences, student agency, interactionist perspective, consideration of context, intentionality, empirically grounded initiatives, a role in instruction and learning, and collaboration p. Kari Taylor conducted an analysis of historical and more recent statements about enhancing learning.


She proposed the three themes of creating learning environments that facilitate the positive growth of natural communities, constructing curricula from experiential. These models are more than best guesses for exemplary practice. They are based on, and reinforced by, a long succession of empirical studies that substantiate the importance and potential for deepening students learning experiences.

Alexander Astins ongoing research , through the Cooperative Institutional Research Program has repeatedly documented that student learning is the result of students being engaged more intensely through experiences both in and outside the classroom.

Moving Students to Deeper Learning in Leadership

George Kuh and his colleagues studied twenty colleges and universities that were successful in creating environments that contribute to student success. This analysis identied a number of conditions that are part of common understanding or represent promising new practices, all of which document the importance of creating campus cultures of high expectation, intense engagement, and shared responsibility for deep learning.

Marcia Baxter Magolda created the Learning Partnerships Model from the qualitative study of students progressive experience during and after college. This model includes elements of support validating learners capacity to know, situating learning in students experiences, and dening learning as mutually constructing meaning and challenge portraying knowledge as complex and socially constructed, reinforcing that self is central to knowledge construction, and sharing authority and expertise that enhance learning.

The evidence that deeper learning is possible when institutions set their collective minds to the task is signicant and unequivocal. We now know that a large body of research related to the importance of deepening student learning conrms Lloyd-Jones and Smiths assertions in , which leads to the inevitable question of why Student Personnel Work as Deeper Teaching was not embraced more actively.

On a personal note, I struggled with this question for some time. I was stunned and relieved of much of my. Ehrlich describes the great and historic debate that began in between John Dewey, the advocate of engaged and democratic learning, and Robert Maynard Hutchins, young president of the University of Chicago and an advocate for the great books approach to learning. Dewey believed that learning was most useful and inuential when students were immersed in their studies and in their communities of learning and practice.

Learning starts with problems rooted in experiences, Dewey urged, and continues with the application of increasingly complex ideas and increasingly sophisticated skills to increasingly complicated problems p. By contrast, Hutchins believed that liberal education should be based on reading the works of the great thinkers in order to understand them on their own merit, rather than attempting to see them applied in students experiences. Ehrlich concluded that Hutchinss view of learning had a profound, if not victorious, impact on higher education through much of the twentieth century.

However, Ehrlich went on to propose that the balance between detached and intellectualized learning versus learning that is informed by the needs of students and connected to their experience may actually be shifting. He provided examples indicating that the type of learning advocated by Dewey is gaining momentum; community-service learning, problem-based learning, collaborative learning, and interactive technologies are all examples of the kind of pedagogical approaches that are increasingly prominent among best practices that enhance students learning. Ehrlichs description of the struggle between Dewey and Hutchins provided a plausible explanation for why Lloyd-Jones and Smiths advocacy for deeper learning was not embraced in As such, the and proposals were increasingly marginalized as the twentieth century.

The political conditions that existed among key leaders in the emerging eld of student personnel work may also have diminished the impact of Lloyd-Jones and Smiths work. Womens voices were frequently, if not consistently, marginalized in the educational environment of the s and s. The focus and inertia of complex organizations and systems may have been a third cause for Lloyd-Jones and Smiths ideas falling on deaf ears, especially when so much was at stake among those who beneted from keeping the systems as they were.

If Ehrlich is correct in his analysis, which is also the thesis of this chapter, then a return to a focus on deeper learning and the exploration of new and innovative ways to foster it will become more prevalent across the landscape of higher education in the years to come. Ehrlichs analysis helps explain what might have contributed to the shift in views on learning and how student personnel work now more frequently known as student affairs should be pursued.

In addition, considerable research on the impact of higher education, new models for collegiate institutions, and our experience all point to the importance of reconnecting notions that have become dichotomous in contemporary education: cognitive and emotional intelligence, theory and practice, reecting and acting. Numerous models for enhancing learning have been proposed that may help higher education begin to seal these ssures.

Deeper Learning and Its Relationship to Leadership As you will see in Chapter Two, the explicit focus on leadership through curricular or cocurricular means is a relatively new phenomenon. The expanded interest that we presently see has given rise to many programs, most conceived in very idiosyncratic ways. The rise in the number of such organizations as the International Leadership Association, and the enhanced focus on leadership.