Student Affairs

Introduction to Using Developmental Theory in Student Affairs Practice

Duration: 1 hour
Facilitator: Dr. Tracy Davis
Price: $108.00

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Professionals develop beliefs about how students grow, learn, and develop; sometimes referred to as informal theory.  Informal theory needs to be guided by concepts from formal theory in order to effectively challenge, support, or otherwise promote student learning, design educational programs, and develop appropriate policies.  We either "fly by navigation" or "by the seat of our pants”, as one student wisely suggested (Dea Forney, personal communication, October 12, 2001).  This webinar will offer an overview of formal theories commonly used in professional preparation programs, with a particular focus on navigating practice.

Learning outcomes:

  • Participants will gain an introductory understanding of central student development theories.
  • Participants will also explore the role of theory in student affairs practice and be able to describe limitations and common problems of using developmental theories.
  • Participants will begin to develop an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice and how to formulate practice guided by theory.

Who should attend:

  • Student affairs staff without a developmental theory background
  • Student life staff
  • Residence life staff
  • Student services administrators
  • Student affairs staff desiring a refresher course on theory
  • Anyone wanting to deepen professional student affairs practice based on theory

Presenter biography:

Tracy Davis is Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at Western Illinois University where he also directs the College Student Personnel Program. He has taught two different theory courses over the past 20 years; one focused on critical concepts related to identity and one centered on moving traditional theories toward practice.  He currently serves as an ACPA Senior Scholar and has published widely regarding men’s development, sexual assault prevention and social justice.  Tracy coauthored, for example, Advancing Social Justice: Tools, Pedagogies, and Strategies to Transform your Campus with Dr. Laura Harrison in 2013co-edited Masculinities in Higher Education: Theoretical and Practical Considerations with Dr. Jason Laker in 2011, and co-authored the New Directions in Student Services monograph Developing Social Justice Allies in 2005 with Dr. Bob Reason, Dr. Ellen Broido, and Dr. Nancy Evans.

His sexual assault prevention research has won numerous awards including both the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators outstanding dissertation award. Tracy was also selected to the inaugural class of ACPA Emerging Scholars in 1999 and has received the ACPA SCM Outstanding Research Award, the Commission on Student Development Assessment’s Outstanding Assessment Article, and NASPA 2012 Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community Newly Published Research award. He was also selected to receive the 2018 University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award, the ACPA Annuit Coeptis award for Senior Scholars, and the SCM Harry Canon Outstanding Professional in 2006. He is a frequent presenter, speaker and consultant on college campuses. Most importantly, he remains wildly unfinished.

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