Facilitated by Aimee Woznick
The claim that college students today are less prepared than ever before is a platitude that reaches beyond the Ivory Tower into the popular imagination. It is true that many students seeking a degree are, by some measures, academically underprepared for the rigors of a college education; federal data indicate that 68 percent of community college students and 40 percent of students at public four-year colleges take at least one remedial course.1 At the same time, this nostalgia for days gone by glosses over many of the realities of our current climate, among them: the need to expand access to higher education in order for the US to remain globally competitive; escalating state disinvestment in higher education since the Reagan administration; skyrocketing tuition and growing college debt; and the increasing age of the “average” college freshman, who often balances a job, parenting, and caring for aging parents with the demands of schoolwork. Viewed in this context, it is not surprising that many students struggle to succeed in college, and the bifurcated understanding of separate pools of “good students” and “bad students” proves meaningless.
So, what are faculty and staff to do to ensure that students facing both academic and nonacademic obstacles are equipped to surmount them? Using Carol Dweck’s concept of a growth mindset as a guiding principle for students and campus personnel alike, this session will demonstrate how innovative educational approaches—from curricular interventions to successful experiments in advising and academic support—can steady students as they navigate the choppy waters of academia. We will engage in a robust dialogue about evidence-based methods for supporting students, discuss the new initiatives in the works at the college to promote retention and timely graduation, and highlight steps you can take in your own practice to ensure your students are learning and moving forward. Please come prepared to talk!