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The Vermont Connection

Abstract

Baxter Magolda, King, Taylor, and Wakefield (2012) found that undergraduate students underwent developmental changes that reveal a gradual decrease in reliance on authority over the course of their first academic year. The students shared stories during their interviews that gave little insight as to how or why such developmental changes occurred. How and by what means are these students moving away from reliance on authority and towards self-definition? What role – if any – can student affairs professionals play in this movement? Simply knowing that first-year students move away from a reliance on authority and towards self-definition is a good start. Student affairs professionals must also be aware of strategies and practices that best support students in such growth. If student affairs professionals have better awareness of what first-year students might deem helpful in their development towards self-definition and selfauthorship, then they can better support their students in such growth and be stronger practitioners in the field.