ADAPT Program -- Accent on Developing Abstract Processes of Thought


Date of this Version

October 1982


From its inception theorists in the student development field have written about developing the whole student. As time passed, we became increasingly aware of the vastness of our ignorance regarding how to enhance that development. Beginning in the early sixties, this knowledge gap began to be filled. Theorists such as Keniston (1965), Astin (1969), Sanford (1966), Chickering (1969), Roy Heath (1958), and Douglas Heath (1968) contributed to this knowledge. Recently Perry (1970) has had a large influence on student development theory. Loevinger (1976) has produced a new work extending her theory significantly. That addition enhances the value of her theory for application to college student development.

Probably the most promising developmental theory for use with college students is not a new one. Although Jean Piaget’s conceptualization of human development (1972) has been thought not to extend as far as late adolescence, Carol Tomlinson-Keasey has explored the theory's applicability to college students. Data are accumulating to suggest that the theory is indeed applicable in that age range (Lawson & Renner, 1974; Tomlinson-Keasey, 1972; Watson, 1968, Moshman, 1977). While Piaget's theory is not unique in this respect, it includes emotional and ethical implications, in addition to its main emphasis, intellectual development. William Perry’s theory is helpful in extending Piaget's at the higher levels of emotional and chronological development. Perry discusses emotional commitment and openness to new experience in addition to the intellectual aspects of student' progress through their late adolescent years.

The ADAPT Program, as an application of some of Piaget’s ideas, could not ignore the emotional and ethical realms. Indeed, far from trying to avoid these areas, ADAPT from the beginning addressed itself to the emotional side of the student's experience.