- Linking Theory to Practice: Case Studies for Working College Students ed. by Frances K. Stage & Steven M. Hubbard
The work we perform as student affairs professionals should be informed by the research we conduct and the legal precedents set in higher education. Stage and Hubbard's third of edition of Linking Theory to Practice: Case Studies for Working with College Students provides a valuable tool in which to do just that. This edition arrives more than a decade after the second edition and provides the reader with more contemporary situations to analyze.
This text is divided into two major sections. The first three chapters provide an overview of the importance of theory (chapter 1), brief synopses of some major theoretical models (chapter 2), and a case study analysis walk-through (chapter 3). The remaining chapters (4-9) provide 38 case studies in a several areas of student affairs and enrollment management.
In chapter 1, Stage articulates the importance of using theory and research in the work we do with and for students. The value for case study work in classrooms and workplace professional development is presented well in this chapter. The author also provides known hurdles and ways to address them to professionals who may see theory and research, consciously and unconsciously, as a hindrance to completing their daily student affairs work. This chapter emphasizes the value of multiple perspectives and the value of all voices in situations.
In chapter 2, Hubbard provides a concise overview of current theoretical models. This overview provides a reminder of theoretical resources available to professionals who may want to further explore and/or review specific theories. Hubbard rightly states that this chapter provides only a cursory overview of what is available and the intention of the chapter is not to provide an in-depth exploration of the theories presented. It should be noted that the research presented in chapter 2 is not new and actually predates the second edition of this book, with few exceptions. In regards to psychosocial and identity theories, mentioning other student populations that are underresearched or missing from current higher education research such as adult learners and nontraditional students, atheist and other secular students, and Native American students may have prompted readers to think about what we do not know when processing case studies.
The inclusion of environmental literature is important, but is too limited to be of value in this section. An expansion, beyond essentially Chickering and Reisser (1993), of this section may have provided additional tools for case analysis. Referencing more theories and research, such as the ones presented in Strange and Banning (2001), would have provided additional direction and resources regarding environmental theories for this section of the chapter. The summary chart in chapter 2 provides a great reference tool for readers.
Stage and Hubbard organized chapter 3 very well. The list of questions to consider and a thorough breakdown of the various aspects of a case study analysis prepares the reader for the example case study that is thoroughly analyzed later in the chapter. The questions [End Page 338] listed on various pages in chapters 1 and 3 are beneficial and would have made for an excellent appendix so the reader would have one sheet to use when conducting an analysis.
Chapters 4 through 9 provide close to 40 situations at both 2-year and 4-year institutions of various sizes and geographical locations. The editors include situations addressing technology like online learning and cyber bullying as well as several scenarios addressing international students and study abroad. The case studies also include departmental issues in admissions, academic advising, residence life, and athletics. The core of the scenarios center on student dissent and issues of difference such as same-sex domestic violence, chilly climate, Muslim students, student with disabilities, and racial dynamics in the classroom. The scenarios are well written and provide the details needed to have in depth conversations with new and seasoned professionals alike.
The valuable appendices included at the...