Super, Donald E. (Donald Edwin), 1910-1994

Variant names
Birth 1910
Death 1994

Biographical notes:

Donald E. Super is most recognized for his contributions to the vocational guidance movement, and later to counseling psychology, which included career counseling and life planning.

Super began his career working as a YMCA employment counselor throughout the 1930s and 1940s. During his career, Super was also founder and director of the Cleveland (Ohio) Guidance Services as well as director of Clark University's Student Personnel Bureau.

Super's strong interest in compiling information led to integration of existing knowledge about vocational guidance. during his affiliation with the YMCA, Super collected information about occupations in Cleveland, resulting in his Compilation Project. Super published his first book about vocational guidance, Dynamics of Vocational Adjustment in 1942, which presented evidence of occupational choice as a process rather than an event in a person's life.

By the time Super's third publication in 1975, Appraising Vocational Fitness by Means of Psychological Fitness, he had been promoted to the rank of Professor at Columbia Teacher's College where he had worked for 30 years.

Career highlights include serving as president of APA's Division of Counseling Psychology. In 1983, he received the American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Applications of Psychology. He is also the recipient of a Doctor of Science degree from Oxford University.

Super died on June 21, 1994 at the age of 83.

From the guide to the Donald E. Super papers, 1941-1994, (Center for the History of Psychology)

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  • Psychology--History--20th century
  • Counseling psychology
  • Career development
  • Vocational guidance
  • Psychology
  • History of psychology
  • Psychologists--United States
  • Psychologists
  • Psychology--History


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