As a part of a concentrated effort to build a coherent and robust student development program at Saddleback College -- inclusive of leadership, personal, and professional development – the Student Office will formulate and assess student learning outcomes yearly. We believe that student learning outcomes provide the necessary framework by which our efforts, goals, mission, and objectives are made intelligible to all involved in the endeavor. Students will not just understand what the Student Development staff and advisors expect of them and their learning process, but also what to expect of the program and themselves. Student learning outcomes are therefore just as useful for the student participant as they are for programmatic review, evaluation, and improvement. To this end, each year the students involved in the programs associated with Student Development will also contribute to the formulation of the student learning outcomes. For 2010-2011 we’ve devised student learning outcomes categorized according three cornerstones that serve to build our programmatic foundation:
1) Self-Awareness, Personal Development, and Life Skills:
The Student Development Office considers self-awareness and personal development to provide the essential foundational elements for leadership skill-building and student success. Exploring self-awareness involves identifying and articulating various facets – cultural, social, and familial -- that contribute to the formation of one’s identity. In addition, discovering one’s strengths and learning how to use those attributes translates self-knowledge into leadership acumen, contributing to personal and professional success. Lastly, the development of self-awareness requires the student to better understand their personal talents, values, and interests, and further, to understand how these characteristics relate to effective leadership.
2) Leadership and Communication:
Guided by the Social Change Model of Leadership as defined by the Higher Education Research Institute’s 1996 publication entitled “A Social Change Model of Leadership Development: Guidebook Version III,” the Student Development Office understands that effective leadership serves to emphasize the need to understand self and others in order to create community and make positive, lasting change. The central tenets of this model are inclusivity, an orientation to process, and work through collaboration. Students are therefore encouraged to develop mutually beneficial relationships through communication and cooperation with others, collaborate to achieve group goals, practice living and leading with integrity, and learn about issues of local and global significance in order to become active members of their communities.
3) Social Justice and Responsibility:
The Student Development Office understands diversity to be one of the greatest assets to any community. Fueling our collective creativity and ingenuity, our diverse society creates an energy of possibility as we negotiate to make positive change. We expect students to develop an understanding of how various aspects of diversity such as culture, ethnicity, sex, race, gender, religion, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, and ability all affect one’s development and perspective as a leader. Furthermore, students will learn to appropriately challenge unfair, unjust or uncivil behavior. Through experiences with organizations such as the ASG Diversity Student Council or events such as the ASG funded Anthropology Brown Bag Luncheon Series, students will learn to value others and build confidence as engaged citizens as they become proactive members of their communities.
Special thanks to the University of Minnesota and Clemson University for direction and guidance on current practices in student development programs.
Higher Education Research Institute. (1996). A Social Change Model of Leadership Development: Guidebook Version III. Los Angeles: The Regents of the University of California.