Developmental Theory and Practice


Staff Development Resources:


Developmental Theory

and Practice 


Members of the Bonner Network's Staff Development initiative working group will be helping to develop resources to share with colleagues throughout the network.  Below are a few good articles to get us started. Many, many thanks to Jana Schroeder, Coordinator of the Bonner Scholar Program at Earlham College ( who is currently studying this area (also for graduate work) and developed this bibliography.   If you have additional suggested readings, educational opportunities, or other resources (especially new ones), please email them to Ariane Hoy ( and Jana Schroeder (


Recommended Bibliography:

Also available here as a printable handout:  Developmental Theory and Practice Reading List for Bonner Wiki.pdf



Other Resources (a bit more dated):



This additional summary of student development theories (found from the California Alumni Association Student Services Department) includes a concise review of theories (with special attention to issues of ethnicity, gender, and majority/minority concerns) including:



Note that these authors are not as current as the list above but are also considered important in the field.

View the page here:  Synopsis of Student Development Theories


Developmental theories are often helpful in grounding program and curriculum design.  The Bonner Program's four-year developmental model is well-supported and connected with various developmental theories. 


See this chart, which represents the four-year "journey through service" that program aspire to create:  



Since its conception, the program has aimed to operate on a developmental model that is grounded in knowing and tapping into the experiences, talents and developmental needs of students during their undergraduate years of college.  See this essay (first created in 1996) that outlined the model:



This handout is a good illustration of how to think about the needs and growth of a college student through service and service-learning experiences.