Book by Lee Burdette Williams
Review by Steven J. Bailey
Administrative Advisor/Student Affairs
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Chickering’s fifth vector, “establishing identity,” is important to our work with students because it encompasses development that occurs in the first four vectors (Chickering and Reisser, 1993). Identity development includes: “(1) comfort with body and appearance, (2) comfort with gender and sexual orientation, (3) sense of self in a social, historical, and cultural context, (4) clarification of self-concept through roles and life-style, (5) sense of self in response to feedback from valued others, (6) self-acceptance and self-esteem, and (7) personal stability and integration” (Chickering and Reisser, 1993, p. 49). Knowing one’s self and the attitudes towards one’s self is important in establishing identity.
In this book author Lee Burdette Williams shows us how students can accomplish Chickering’s vectors with assistance from peer educators. Peers in the same life stage can relate to students. As older advisors can attest, peer advisors can help students establish and grasp their educational goals. This book can help academic advisors understand the peer-educated environment, how it can affect teaching of our students, and how advising should be flexible enough to accept peer advisors as a reality.
Connecting peer educators with Chickering’s vectors was excellent but I would have liked to have seen discussion of David Kolb’s theories in this book as well. Kolb discusses student learning in regards to life experiences and notes how students can mentor each other. Peer educators who understand Kolb’s Concrete Experience (feeling) ---V---Abstract Conceptualization (thinking), and Active Experimentation - (doing)---V--- Reflective Observation (watching) continuums can help students make the most of their college experience.
While there have been various additions to the literature, such as William’s book, I believe that the work of David A. Kolb (1976; 1981; 1984) and his associate Roger Fry (Kolb and Fry 1975) provides a central reference point for discussion of the use of peer educators on our campuses. This book would have been strengthened for practitioners with the addition of Kolb's work.
Chickering, A. W. and Reisser, L. (1993). Education and identity. 2nd Ed. San Francisco:
Kolb. D. A. and Fry, R. (1975). Toward an applied theory of experiential learning in C. Cooper (ed.)
Theories of Group Process. London: John Wiley.
Kolb, D. A. (1976) The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. Boston, MA.: McBer.
Kolb, D. A. (1981). Learning styles and disciplinary differences. in A. W. Chickering (ed.) The Modern
American College. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kolb, D. A. (1984) Experiential Learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
Emerging Issues and Practices in Peer Education (New directions for students services #133).
(2011). Book by Lee Burdette Williams (Ed.). Review by Steven J. Bailey. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 107 pp. $29.00. ISBN # 978-1-1180-2465-2