We live in a stressful world, and the stress is heightened for students and educators when it’s time to prepare for high-stakes tests. When test scores are tied to school funding, teacher evaluations, and students’ future placement, the consequences of these stressors can be far-reaching.
From a neurological perspective, high stress disrupts the brain’s learning circuits and diminishes memory construction, storage, and retrieval. Neuroimaging research shows us that, when stresses are high, brains do not work optimally, resulting in decreased understanding and memory. In addition, stress reduces efficient retrieval of knowledge from the memory storage networks, so when under pressure students find it harder to access information previously studied and learned.
California State University at Sacramento, like more than a thousand other institutions in the U.S., uses the learning
management system Blackboard Learn, but likely not for much longer.
Sacramento State is getting ready to upgrade. And like many institutions in its situation, the university is looking at systems that are hosted in the cloud and delivered as software as a service (SaaS).
Moving to the cloud normally means paying more, but it does come with some benefits. Virtually no downtime is a big one. Software providers can push new features and critical patches to all its customers in the cloud, instead of colleges having to take their systems offline for maintenance. Colleges also don’t need to worry about servers if their systems are hosted in the cloud.
This paper explores how community service-learning (CSL) participants negotiate competing institutional logics in Canadian higher education. Drawing theoretically from new institutionalism and work on institutional logics, we consider how CSL has developed in Canadian universities and how participants discuss CSL in relation to other dominant institutional logics in higher education. Our analysis suggests participants’ responses to competing community, professional, and market logics vary depending on their positions within the field. We see actors’ use of hybrid logics to validate communityengaged learning as the strategy most likely to effect change in the field.
The ways in which university quality assessments are developed reveal a great deal about value constructs surrounding higher education. Measures devel- oped and consumed by external stakeholders, in particular, indicate which elements of academia are broadly perceived to be most reflective of quality. This paper examines the historical context of library quality assessment and
reviews the literature related to how library value is framed in three forms of external evaluation: accreditation, university rankings, and student surveys. The review finds that the library’s contribution to university quality, when it is considered at all, continues to be measured in terms of collections, spaces, and expenditures, despite significant expansion of library services into non- traditional arenas, including teaching and research, scholarly communica- tions, and data management and visualization. These findings are contrasted with the frequently invoked notion of the library as the heart of the university.
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to gain insights into how aca-demics understand undergraduate graduand attributes. The findings reveal some alignment in views about student attributes, including that they are engaged citizens, are self-directed, have imagination, are questioning, are flexible, display leadership, are problem solvers, and possess character. This consistency, however, does not include the spectrum of views on how these attributes are conceived and developed. The findings reveal a range of inter-pretations regarding the kinds and levels of understandings of how graduand student attributes are developed throughout an undergraduate program of study. The findings indicate that (i) a shared understanding does not exist on how academics construe student attributes, (ii) academics do not share com-mon meanings about the core achievements of a higher education, or how these are developed through students’ undergraduate programs, and (iii) stu-dent attributes tend not to be perceived as developing from the usual process of an undergraduate education.
The department chair is a complex middle-management position located at the organizational fulcrum between faculty and senior administration. This qualitative study sought to develop a deeper understanding of chairs’ experi-ences when enacting their dual roles as managers and scholars. Using a ba-sic interpretative study design, we interviewed 10 department chairs from a medium-sized Canadian university. The participants identified three interre-lated areas of challenge: managing position, managing people, and managing self. We discuss the tensions and ambiguities inherent within these themes, along with specific recommendations for supporting this position.
This study examines the George Coles bursary program—a financial aid plan designed to “keep residents at home” so they can attend university, by provid-ing a bursary in their first year of university following high school graduation. The study offers insight into higher education students’ financial circumstanc-es, thereby suggesting policy direction for governments and higher education institutions wishing to retain talent and support student financing. The findings show that the resident students considered in the study appeared to value the bursary. However, none of the key metrics related to participation in or conver-sion to the home institution indicated that the bursary impacted enrolment or participation. This research highlights the importance of utilizing financial aid in combination with other policies to help students access higher education.
This study aimed to identify and rank the personal, family-related, social, and academic correlates of depressive symptoms in first-year college students. A questionnaire that included the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) was administered to 389 first-year college students (mean age = 18.9; SD = 3.38; 59.4% female). Eight variables contributed uniquely to the variance of depressive symptoms and were, in decreasing order of importance: (1) the absence of personal goals, (2) a high level of anxiety and (3) of dysfunctional thoughts regarding success, (4) a lack of emotional adjustment to college, (5) being female, (6) receiving little warmth and encouragement of autonomy from one’s mother and (7) from one’s father, and (8) being attracted to members of the same or both sexes. These results suggest that a multimodal intervention is required to support students’ mental health.
The educational benefits of embedding hands-on experience in higher education curriculum are widely recognized (Beard & Wilson, 2013). However, to optimize the learning from these opportunities, they need to be grounded in empirical learning theory. The purpose of this study was to examine the characteristics of internships in Ontario colleges and universities, and to assess
the congruence between the components of these internships and Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning framework. Information from 44 Ontario universities and colleges, including 369 internship program webpages and 77 internship course outlines, was analyzed. The findings indicated that internship programs overemphasize the practical aspect of the experience at the expense
of linking theory and practice. To optimize experiential education opportunities, recommendations include establishing explicit learning activities consistent with each experiential learning mode, including practice, reflection, connecting coursework and practical experience, and implementing creative ideas in practice.
This paper reviews and critiques the existing literature on accompanying partners of international students (APIS), who are often an ignored population in programs and services for the internationalization of Canadian higher education. Particularly, we identify three issues. First, we argue that current research on this group overwhelmingly focuses on their social and cultural adaptation difficulties while ignoring their agency in dealing with life challenges in the host society. Second, we note that research on this population should go beyond an overemphasis on gender, to include a comprehensive analysis of how gender intersects with other unequal social relations, such as race and class, in contributing to the complexity and multiplicity of their lived experiences. Finally, we suggest that rather than conflating APIS with trailing partners of expatriates or immigrants and treating them as a homogenous group, researchers should do more to address their heterogeneity from an anti-essentialist approach.
This article focuses on high school to university transitions for Indigenous youth at universities in British Columbia, Canada. The study is premised on an Indigenous research design, which utilizes the concept of visioning and a storywork methodology (Archibald, 2008). The results challenge existing in-stitutional and psychological approaches to transitions in revealing that they are deeply impacted by a variety of lived experiences and that a visioning process is vital to Indigenous youths’ participation in university. The paper concludes with implications for practitioners working in educational and Ab-original community-based settings.
College completion is on the agenda — from the White House to the statehouse to the family house. Improving college completion is essential, but increased degree and certificate completion, in and of itself, is not a sufficient measure of improvement. Genuine progress depends on making sure that degree completion is a proxy for real learning — for developing thinking and reasoning abilities, content knowledge, and the high-level skills needed for 21st-century jobs and citizenship.
High expectations are an essential condition for student success. Simply put, no one rises to low expectations. But establishing high expectations is no simple matter. It requires more than just words, more than telling students that the community college holds high expectations for them. It also requires the establishment of policies and practices — and in turn, patterns of faculty, staff, and
student actions — that reinforce those words in everyday practice. High expectations have to be experienced, not simply heard.
For the past five years, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) has been at the cutting edge of
measuring aspects of the student experience that are linked to student success. The validation studies summarized in
this report show the link between CCSSE results and improved student success. CCSSE’s reach and influence — it has collected
information from almost 700,000 students at 548 different colleges in 48 states, British Columbia, and the Marshall Islands — is nothing short of remarkable in such a short period of time.
Each year, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) presents the results of its annual survey. These results give community colleges objective and relevant data about students’ experiences at their colleges so they can better understand how effectively they are engaging their students and identify areas for improvement.
This year, the CCSSE report also includes results of the first administration of the Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE), which provides insights into faculty perceptions and practices. Because many items on CCSSE and CCFSSE are aligned, the report includes side-by-Lori Gates side views of faculty members’ and students’ responses.
O ne characteristic that distinguishes academics from professionals in the corporate world is the former don’t necessarily aspire to climb the management ladder. Many professors — perhaps most, and especially the tenured — are content to spend their lives focusing on teaching and research, with no desire to become a department chair or dean.
That said, some faculty members do want to scale the ladder of academic administration, the first rung of which is usually department chair. Others may not have pursued a management job but nevertheless find it extended to them. And still others may feel some obligation to "take their turn" at the helm, for the good of their department or simply to share the burden. Professors in all three of those groups, at some point, face the same dilemma: "Should I do this, or not?"
How do you teach the same concepts and skills to students with diverse abilities and interests? Different learning profiles? And how do you do that in real classrooms, with limited time to plan?
Differentiated instruction is one answer that has been extensively documented (see “Recommended Resources” at the end of this post).
Without question, a major classroom challenge facing today’s educators is getting their students to put down their phones and pick up their level of engagement. While a generation ago educators might find their students getting sidetracked by an attractive classmate, an enchanting daydream or passing notes about an upcoming tailgate party, today’s smartphones present educators with a whole new array of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
According to the 2011 article “The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students,” published in College Teaching, after surveying “269 college students from 21 academic majors at a small Northeastern university,” authors Deborah R. Tindall and Robert W. Bohlander found that “95 percent of students bring their phones to class every day, 92 percent use their phones to text message during class time and 10 percent admit they have texted during an exam on at least one occasion.”
It comes as news to no one that 8am classes are too early for some students.
A recent study published in Frontiers of Neuroscience, and reported at NPR finds that “the ideal start time would be more like 10 or 11am.” Most traditional-aged college students just aren't wired to be awake and productive at 8am.
Over the last sixteen years, I have taught an 8am class probably about 2/3rds of the semesters.
I like 8am classes. When I taught at Clemson I had a 45 minute commute and four sections crammed into a TTH schedule. Starting at 8am meant I could avoid traffic and finish up the day at a reasonable hour.
I don’t mind getting up early and going to bed before 10pm. I’m basically worthless in terms of higher order thought after 6pm. My natural rhythms sync with 8am classes.
This is not true for many students. I became well-familiar with the research when a team of students in an 8am technical writing class tackled class scheduling for their group project. The genesis of their interest was their loathing of their 8am technical writing class, a section they felt they’d been conscripted into because of curricular requirements combined with a shortage of
sections. For several, the choice was either take it at 8am or don’tgraduate.
A decade ago, few universities thought strategically about their brand. Now, as the market for academic talent, funding, and recognition heats up, the need has become acute. Universities recognize the necessity of building appreciation for what makes them unique. Yet while some universities may be regarded as “great” brands, most aren’t. And it may be because of the ways in which higher education approaches branding.