Throughout my graduate education, I have focused on three specific theories I want to utilize in my own career. The first, Chickering’s (1993) seven vectors of identity development were a part of a theory that was brought up again and again throughout my masters program and is a valuable asset in understanding the different stages of student development. Baxter Magolda’s (2001) self-authorship was more of a revelation when I first read it, as it helped me organize many of own thoughts into a more academic theory. Finally, Sue and Sue’s (2007) ideas on cultural counseling were rather innovative for me as they introduced me to many different aspects of both counseling and diversity in higher education.
Empowering Students through Self-Authorship
Because most students undergo drastic growth and maturity during college, it is important to emphasize students’ development of their own identities as the center of their learning (Baxter Magolda, 2001). By creating trust through mentoring, I know I will be able to empower and encourage students through strong, consistent and honest relationships (Palmer, 2000).
Diversifying the University Experience
I desire to help create a more inclusive, culturally-minded campus in all of my work with students. Diversity is more than just the race of a person; we also have to consider their culture, gender, disability, religious, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. These characteristics are more important because they encompass the whole range of the human experience. (Sue and Sue, 2007). By supporting different perspectives and encouraging development in students, I want to help create bridges and relationships between students of all types of backgrounds in my professional practice.
Voice for the Marginalized
Finally, I want to create a safe space for students who are often forgotten or overlooked by institutions. I desire to encourage and help give a voice to students who have fallen through the cracks of traditional higher education. Because students must develop competence before all else, I will attempt to challenge and support students on their way through maturity and personal development (Chickering, 1993; Sanford, 1967).