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School of Humanities and Social Sciences News

Keyword: undergraduate education

Negative feelings can have a disastrous impact on student performance.  Such negativity can be easily combated, however, explains UC Berkeley Professor, David L. Kirp, in a recent New York Times article.  Kirp describes strategies such as showing students that they have the capacity for intellectual growth, using constructive feedback, and affirming students' sense of self worth and value.  As teachers and administrators, we are responsible for the success of all of our students. Helping students to remove barriers to performance, such as negative feelings or a academic insecurities, can have a lasting positive impact, particularly for those students most at risk.

The authors of The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most (2016) set out to discover what practices, perspectives, and values have the most impact on undergraduate education.  Unlike many recent books on higher education, this book takes a positive, proactive approach to the student experience, focusing on what institutions can do right, rather than what they have been doing wrong. 

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Is the 3-credit course model still relevant in higher education today?  A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that students might be as productive--if not more so--in different environments.  Author Rebecca Pope-Ruark persuasively demonstrates how practices common in the software-development world, such as hackathons, innovation time off, and sprint prize competitions can create effective learning opportunities within universities.  As educators, we continually struggle to develop inclusive and innovative curricula but sometimes find ourselves limited by a credit-based system.  As Pope-Ruark's article suggests, perhaps it is time to look beyond our traditional models and learn from our colleagues in other fields.

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