Book by Debora Liddell and Diane Cooper, (Eds.)
Review by Alisa D. Trotter
College of Business Advisement Center
Missouri State University – Springfield, MO

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” The Golden Rule was one example given in the book, Facilitating the Moral Growth of College Students, of beliefs that colleges should take more pains to instill in students as a part of their curriculum (Liddell and Cooper, 2012).  Liddell and Cooper’s book places particular emphasis on service learning as a good way to develop increasingly moral college students.

Service learning has become a large component of making ethical development more commonplace in many programs of study.  Service learning, as defined at the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse web site, is “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities” (http://www.servicelearning.org/what-service-learning).  Liddell and Cooper’s book has some good suggestions for faculty, administrators, diversity officers, etc.  But where does the student’s academic advisor fit into “facilitating moral growth”?

I believe that individuals should not tell others how to behave, but should live that behavior.  The Golden Rule, mentioned above, comes to mind as well as principles taught by basic Biblical and religious doctrine.

This book’s target audience is faculty members who are looking for ways to include invaluable life lessons along with textbook learning into their course syllabi.  For this reason, this book will not be a top resource for me as an advisor since advising is my primary role and I do not teach classes.  However, academic advisors can gain great insight from the book into ways students can fulfill electives (i.e. service learning courses) or enhance their resume.

I tell my advisees about Missouri State University’s Citizenship and Service Learning (CASL) office, as many opportunities exist for students to incorporate service learning, not only in their business classes, but also with general education requirements.

When trying to persuade students to take advantage of the benefits that volunteering or service learning has to offer, I find it is more persuasive to tell them what they will get from the experience, rather than explain all of the ways they will help others or help sustain the earth’s resources.  Realistically, employers want to hire a “well-rounded” individual.  Obviously, employers want students to have a degree, but they also want marketable skills. 

Liddell and Cooper’s book is helpful, but more from a teaching standpoint than an advising standpoint. I agree that service learning is an important component of higher education and will continue to promote this and other options to my advisees.

Facilitating the Moral Growth of College Students: New Directions for Student Services Number 139, Fall 2012. (2012). Book by Debora Liddell and Diane Cooper, (Eds.). Review by Alisa Trotter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 103 pp., (paperback), ISBN # 1536-0695

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