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Reviewed by:
  • Identity Development of Diverse Populations: Implications for Teaching and Administration in Higher Education: ASHE Higher Education Report (Volume 29, Number 6)
  • Ronni L. Sanlo
Identity Development of Diverse Populations: Implications for Teaching and Administration in Higher Education: ASHE Higher Education Report (Volume 29, Number 6) Vasti Torres, Mary F. Howard-Hamilton, and Diane L. Cooper San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003, 144 pages, $26.00 (softcover)

Professor Allan Johnson (2001) stated that there is "much trouble surrounding the issues of difference in the United States, especially relating to gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and social class, and we understand that the trouble we experience causes enormous amounts of injustices and unnecessary suffering" (p. vii). He identified that our society is stuck in a "paralysis that perpetuates the trouble and its human consequences" (p. vii). If we in higher education and student affairs are to understand, internalize, and work through the trouble identified by Johnson, we need to know not only who our students are but also who we are as individuals and professionals.

Identity Development of Diverse Populations: Implications for Teaching and Administration in Higher Education reviews the current theories of identity development for adolescent and college student populations. According to the authors, its purpose is to "challenge traditional paradigms and recognize new voices that should be part of the construction of new, more inclusive policies and practices" (p. iv). The purpose of the monograph is "to inform practice and provide educators with more tools to consider in their daily interactions with students" (p. 7). Through a review of identities and their development, the monograph focuses on developmental issues of students from various racial, ethnic, and social groups as they attempt to define themselves in society. It is an attempt to foster greater understanding of the various identity groups on college campuses today. The authors' goal is "to challenge, inspire, and promote dialogue" (p. 104) about issues of identity development.

The authors suggest that the monograph is needed because of the misunderstanding of populations of students who are different from the majority group. Due to society's changing demographics, interactions on [End Page 365] campus also are changing. The work of higher education needs to be more in sync with changing campus populations. The authors indicate that student affairs professionals need to be more intentional about programming, and that faulty and staff must understand how they influence the success or failure of students who are not from the majority culture.

Identity Development of Diverse Populations: Implications for Teaching and Administration in Higher Education has six chapters, each with subsections of different identity issues. Chapter 1, "Why Should Higher Education be Concerned with the Identity Development of Diverse Students?" provides a brief overview of identity development and offers definitions for consistency throughout the remainder of the work. The authors remind us that this monograph is not a how-to book but a starting point from which dialogue might take place, and that a communication gap occurs when faculty and administration attempt to interact with students without having an understanding of the similarities and differences in the development of each individual students.

The second chapter, "Theoretical Frameworks of Identity Development Theory: Foundational Theories," offers developmental theories beginning with Erikson (1964), Marcia (1966), Josselson (1987), and Chickering and Reisser (1993). The authors also acknowledge the work of McEwen, Roper, Bryant, and Langa (1990) who suggest that because current foundational theories are creations of European Americans, they may no longer be appropriate any longer within a more multicultural society. They add that it may be time to create new theories based on the realities of the current population.

Chapter 3, "Dominant Cultures, Oppression, and Other Social Issues Affecting the Identity Development of Diverse Populations," focuses on oppression and its influences on minority students. It also explores white identity development and connections to other racial identity groups. The chapter discusses how the struggles against racism and sexism are captured in the theories of oppression. Missing from this discussion is sexual orientation and the oppression experienced by non-heterosexual populations.

This chapter also includes a discussion of the three lenses through which oppression is experienced: individual, institutional, and cultural. White identity development is discussed extensively...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-3382
Print ISSN
0897-5264
Pages
pp. 365-368
Launched on MUSE
2004-07-26
Open Access
No
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