Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director

On Thursday, July 16, 2015, I was in Baltimore for the Morgan State University, ACPA and National Council on Student Development (NCSD) Drive In Conference entitled “Theory to Practice to Outcomes: Connecting Student Development Theory to Community College Practice." The day started with Dr. Lee Knefelkamp, Professor Emerita of Psychology and Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. 

Professor Knefelkamp is the co-creator of the Practice-to-Theory-to-Practice Model used widely in psychology and higher education and Senior Fellow at AAC & U. She was followed by Dr. Deborah Garrett, President, Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) and Vice Chancellor for Student Services at Arkansas State University – Beebe.

Deb Garrett has worked as an executive-level community college administrator for over twenty-five years where she is a strong advocate for the community college context and experience. The purpose of the conference was to highlight the utility and benefits of student development theory when developing programs, services, policies, and engaging with individual students. Breakout sessions offered pragmatic connections between theory and practice within various functional areas in community colleges. There was a strong emphasis on connecting the CAS standards to practice and their effective use in assessment and accreditation for community colleges.

We were exposed to the power of student development in changing individual student experience and student learning and a closing panel of SSAOs helped us make a direct connection between the use of student development and the outcomes-based completion agenda that is at the forefront of current community college reform.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the day's dialogue:

“Higher Education is in a revolution, a complete paradigm shift. The real question of the day is now

“What is an adequate undergraduate education? Can we refute the false dichotomy of a college education vs. competencies? Employers want people who demonstrate the capacity for team work, people who can work with diversity, demonstrate leadership and decision making skills. They want innovators.”

“We are losing our institutional memory on student development. No one reads the original theory any more. We need to return to that discipline and ensure that the translation we are making is accurate.”

I had a great day with my colleagues, learned a lot and felt particularly challenged to sort out student learning outcomes from program outcomes. I think we sometimes confuse these in our haste to demonstrate success and our own “value” to the systems where we work.

I want to thank everyone at Morgan State University, NCSD, and ACPA who contributed their time and expertise to this gathering. Thank you to our speakers Mei-Yen Ireland, Ph.D., Ashley Babcock, Ed.D., Christopher Conzen, M.Ed., Case Willoughby, Ed.D., David Green, M.A, Marcus Peanort M.Ed., Jennifer Blackwell, Ever Grier, M.Ed. as well as our panelists, Dr. Ron Smith, Denise McCory, Dr. Yancey Gulley, and Dr. Tyjuan Lee. Thank you!