Plenary I

Dr. Marcia Baxter MagoldaDR. MARCIA BAXTER MAGOLDA

Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at Miami University of Ohio (USA)

Plenary Title

Dissolving boundaries: Integrating cognitive, identity, and relational development to promote learning


Wednesday June 20, 2012 - 9:00 - 10:30 am

Plenary Description

Despite considerable consensus on the desired outcomes of higher education, insufficient attention is given to the cognitive, identity, and relational capacities that underlie learners’ ability to achieve these outcomes.  How learners view knowledge, themselves, and their social relation to the world mediates how they decide what to believe, who to become, and how to relate to the world around them.  Self-authorship, or the capacity to internally coordinate external influence to define beliefs, identity and social relations, is the developmental capacity necessary for critical thinking, intercultural maturity, effective leadership, and good citizenship.  Marcia Baxter Magolda will share findings from her 25-year study of young adult learning and development from age 18 to 43 to explore the cognitive, identity, and relational growth necessary for learners to achieving post-secondary learning goals.  Dissolving the boundaries between learning and development and among the cognitive, identity and relational dimensions of development is crucial to promote the kind of complex learning outcomes required by 21st century life.

Marcia will use video clips to illustrate learners’ journey from uncritical authority-dependence to self-authorship, highlighting the role of personal and contextual variables (e.g., culture, marginalization, privilege) in shaping diverse pathways through the journey.  Reflective interludes and dialogues with a partner throughout the session will give participants an opportunity to analyze the extent to which narratives from the study reflect the developmental journey of their students.  Marcia will illustrate how various portions of the developmental journey translate to learners’ ability to achieve one of the most difficult post-secondary learning outcomes – intercultural maturity.  Marcia will also describe the Learning Partnerships Model that emerged from her longitudinal study.  This model articulates the challenging and supportive conditions that blur the boundaries among the three developmental dimensions and thus promote learning and development simultaneously.  A follow-up session for those wishing to explore the Learning Partnerships Model in more detail includes examples of the model’s use in teaching and advising settings.

Follow-up Session Title (CS1.01)

Blurring Boundaries between Teaching and Learning: The Learning Partnerships Model

Follow-up Session Description

This session will expand on the Learning Partnerships Model introduced in the keynote presentation.  Baxter Magolda will provide a brief overview of the model and how it blends challenge and support to promote complex learning and development simultaneously.  She will illustrate learning partnerships through examples of its use in teaching and advising contexts.  Examples of the model's implementation in diverse curricular contexts will help participants judge the model's utility in their own educational practice.  Session participants will be invited to discuss the degree to which they currently use learning partnership components in their teaching or how they might envision using them.  Session participants will also be invited to discuss challenges of using this kind of model including student reactions, educators’ assumptions about students, teaching and learning, and institutional barriers.


Marcia Baxter Magolda is Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at Miami University of Ohio (USA). She teaches student development theory in the Student Affairs in Higher Education masters and doctoral programs. Her scholarship addresses the evolution of learning and development in college and young adult life and pedagogy to promote self-authorship.

Her books include Authoring Your Life: Developing an Internal Voice to Meet Life’s Challenges (Stylus, 2009), Development and Assessment of Self-authorship: Exploring the Concept across Cultures (co-edited with E. Creamer & P. Meszaros; Stylus, 2010) Learning Partnerships: Theory and Models of Practice to Educate for Self-Authorship (co-edited with P. King; Stylus, 2004), Making Their Own Way: Narratives for Transforming Higher Education to Promote Self-Development (Stylus, 2001), Creating Contexts for Learning and Self-Authorship: Constructive-Developmental Pedagogy (Vanderbilt University Press, 1999), and Knowing and Reasoning in College (Jossey-Bass, 1992).

She received the Association for the Study of Higher Education Research Achievement Award, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ Robert H. Shaffer Award for Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member, American College Personnel Association’s Contribution to Knowledge Award, and Miami University’s Benjamin Harrison Medallion.

List of Publications

Baxter Magolda, M. B., Creamer, E. G., & Meszaros, P. S. (Eds.). (2010). Development and assessment of self-authorship: Exploring the concept across cultures. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2009). Authoring your life: Developing an internal voice to navigate life’s challenges. Sterling, VA: Stylus. 

Baxter Magolda, M. B., & King, P. M. (Eds.). (2004). Learning partnerships: Theory & models of practice to educate for self-authorship. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2001). Making their own way: Narratives for transforming higher education to promote self-development. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Baxter Magolda, M. B. (Ed.) (2000). Teaching to promote intellectual and personal maturity: Incorporating students' worldviews and identities into the learning process. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Vol. 82). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Baxter Magolda, M. B. (1999). Creating contexts for learning and self-authorship: Constructive-developmental pedagogy. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

Baxter Magolda, M. B. (1992). Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender related patterns in students' intellectual development. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc.