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Chickering's Seven Vectors
Transcript of Chickering's Seven Vectors
Dr. Arthur Chickering was one of the first to develop and publish a broad theory of identity development in 1969 (Evans et. al., 2010).
The framework for the theory is derived from the work of Erik Erikson, the only psychosocial theorist with a comprehensive theory before Chickering (Chickering & Reisser, 1993).
The foundation of Chickering's theory are seven developmental vectors.
The vectors are not linear stages, nor do they develop separately from one another.
Strengths & Weaknesses
An Identity Development Theory
"The vectors describe major highways for journeying toward individuation - the discovery and refinement of one's unique way of being...we propose that while each person will drive differently, with varying vehicles and self-chosen detours, eventually all with dill move down these major routes. They may have different ways of thinking, learning, and deciding, and those differences will affect the way the journey unfolds, but for all the different stores about turning points and valuable lessons, college students live out recurring themes: gaining competence and self-awareness, learning control and flexibility, balancing intimacy with freedom, finding one's voice or vocation, refining beliefs, and making commitments" (Chickering & Reisser, 1993, p. 35).
Vector 1: Developing Competence
Competence must be developed in 3 areas: intellectual, physical, and interpersonal
3 areas are interrelated
Consider the goals of research universities: their primary aim is to develop intellectual competence
Developing competence > ability to take risks, accept imperfections, & find place amongst peers
Vector 2: Managing Emotions
significant improvement between original (1969) version and updated (1993) edition including:
integration with other theories & theorists
application to diverse individuals & communities
Has been researched broadly
intense emotions stimulate responses & impulses ... think fight or flight
relatively little research on topic
Increasing awareness is important!
having students consider their life stories
Vector 3: Moving Through Autonomy Toward Interdependence
3 part process:
Students NEED to separate themselves from parents!
Vector 4: Developing Mature Interpersonal Relationships
The ability to accept individuals for who they are & empathize
tolerance & appreciation of differences
capacity for intimacy
Vector 5: Establishing Identity
It could be argued that all the vectors fall under "establishing identity"
Chickering relies heavily on the work of Marcia, Prager, Josselson, and other researchers & writers
Chickering breaks down the components of identity further:
Comfort with body & appearance
Comfort with gender and sexual orientation
Sense of self in a social, historical, and cultural context
Clarification of self-concept through roles and life-style
Sense of self in response to and feedback from values others
Self-acceptance and self-esteem
Stability and integration
Vector 6: Developing Purpose
"Developing purpose entails an increasing ability to assess interests and options, to clarify goals, to make plans, and to persist despite obstacles" (Chickering & Reisser, 1993, p. 209).
Vector 7: Developing Integrity
reviewing personal values in an inquiring environment that emphasizes diversity
the use of evidence
Figuring out values entails:
7 key Environmental Influences
1. Institutional objectives
2. Institutional size
3. Student-faculty relationships
6. Friendships and Student Communities
7. Student Development Programs & Services
3 Admonitions aka "The 3 Things You Need to Maximize Educational Potential"
Integration of work & learning
Recognition & respect for individual differences
Acknowledgment of the Cyclical Nature of Learning & Development
BIG implications for student activities & programming AND the educational environment
Research needs to be done on specific aspects of the theory rather than having studies "imply" causation
There are still significant minority groups missing from the revised version
"More research is needed on the interface between age, race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, and student development" (Reisser, 1995, p. 510).
Chickering himself said this regarding his theory: "We hold our theories with tenuous tenacity. They are not to be defended against all comers at all costs. We do not stake claim to some ultimate, enduring truths. The conceptual frameworks proposed are to be tested in use, refined through application, elaborated and revised through successive cycles of informed practice and empirical research" (Chickering, 1995).