News Roundup: Preparing Students to Become Engaged Citizens

This week, resources for helping nontraditional students thrive in college and preparing all student to become engaged citizens.

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How Can Colleges Help Their Adult Students?
In this video, Anne Clark Bartlett, who was a no­­ntraditional student, discusses approaches institutions can use to help nontraditional students succeed, such as ensuring small class sizes so students can voice their diverse perspectives and encouraging faculty to work with students through challenges. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Pedagogy for a Thriving Democracy
Institutions and faculty must equip students with the knowledge and skills to be engaged citizens, according to David B. Hoffman. Faculty can encourage civic-mindedness by ceding some control to students, being flexible in lessons to encourage spontaneity, and providing support to help students learn from real-life contexts, among other strategies. (Forbes)

Student Preparedness Incorporated into the Course Design
Since teaching effectively depends on student preparedness, Lynn Gillette uses Class Preparedness Assignments (CPAs) to encourage advance preparation. The CPA is a guided reading assignment accompanied by an informational writing assignment graded pass/fail. Gillette finds that using CPAs improves her teaching as well as the quality of class discussions and students’ notes. (The Scholarly Teacher)

More Than a Higher Ed Degree
Based on research into what skills employers seek, Bentley University’s Prepared U program equips students with both hard and soft skills to succeed in the workplace. Bentley President Gloria Cordes Larson believes a liberal education is necessary for instilling these lifelong learning skills because it combines theory with real-world experiences. (University Business)

Turning Good Teaching on Its Head
Giving assistance to weaker students is more likely to have an impact than helping stronger students, Paul Diehl writes, since it could be the tipping point between success and failure. He encourages faculty to notice and proactively provide support to students who are struggling. (Inside Higher Ed)

Inclusivity Lessons From a Women’s College
Based on an interview with a woman who attends Smith College, Emma Bjorngard-Basayne and Kristi Kaeppel offer lessons to other institutions on how to build more inclusive classrooms. Their suggestions include implementing low-stakes problem-solving exercises that foster collaboration among students and initiating class discussions about power and privilege. (UConn)

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