In response to:
“This week we also defined student development theory as an environment that fosters healthy student growth and learning (Evans, Forney, and Guido-DiBrito, 1998).”
Understanding theory does create and environment that nurtures student grown and learning.
Lowering the Bar
A concern I have is that we have lost our moral compass, as education no longer fosters religion. Throughout history, religion in education encouraged ethical behavior. The religious elements of American colleges were those of piety and moral discipline, not religious theology (Chickering, Dalton, and Stamm, 2006).
MISSING: Christian Values
Although America’s colleges and universities did not directly promote a particular denominational theology, all campuses until the early twentieth century defined themselves as Christian institutions, with the propagation of Christian faith and values as an essential component of their missions (Chickering et al., 2006). It really makes one ask, why morality based education through religion has been disregarded. According to Chickering et al. (2006), moral teaching was eliminated from the curriculum as student associations became a major focus on most campuses for the expression of Christian sentiments through religious work. Chickering et al. (2006), reference Longfield:
“As America became more pluralistic and secular, and as an increased stress on research, specialization, and vocationalism and an expanded curriculum worked to further the secularization of higher education,” most institutions “would abandon their earlier efforts to serve God and simply pursue a mission of service to the nation” (p. 75)
Chickering, A. W., Dalton, J. C., & Stamm, L. (2006). Encouraging authenticity & spirituality in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., & Guido-DiBrito, F. (1998). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.