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Student Life Cycle Management

Strategic Learning Alternative Techniques (SALT) Center at the University of Arizona:

A dozen strategic learning specialists are assigned to individual students, whom they meet with weekly and coach on everything from time management to self-advocacy. SALT students get help figuring out how and to whom to disclose their learning disability, and how to approach professors and talk to them. Research has shown that students with learning disabilities need to develop self-determination skills. Students begin work on self-advocacy right away.

Last August, when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook Virginia, people in offices up the East Coast were reading about the quake before they felt their desks not-so-mysteriously begin to wobble. How? Chalk it up to another feat of Twitter (by this time it had already helped topple unruly regimes in the Middle East). During the earthquake, users tweeted at a rate of 5,500 tweets per second, with 40,000 tweets hitting Twitter timelines and TweetDecks in just one minute.

Student Caitlin Smith of Adelphi U gets a helping hand from Susan Spencer Farinacci, executive director of the Learning Disabilities Program there.

At first glance, the sprawling University of Arizona and University of Connecticut campuses might not have much in common with Adelphi University and Curry College, smaller private institutions in the suburbs of New York City and Boston, respectively. But all of these schools have built robust programs for undergraduates with learning disabilities (LD), distinguishing themselves in the process.

They’re among an expanding number of institutions working closely with students who decades ago might have struggled to graduate—or not made it to college at all.

Published at the end of January, the Noel-Levitz study on the mobile browsing behaviors and expectations of prospective students provided this list of six items considered to be the most valuable content for mobile experiences: academic program listing, cost/scholarship calculators, calendar of important dates and deadlines, specific details about academic programs, application process summary and online applications forms.

artist painting

Futurist Richard Florida moved the needle with his book The Rise of the Creative Class (Basic Books, 2002)—establishing creativity as a 21st century learning and earning skill, and a driving force of economic growth, jobs creation, and cultural enrichment in today’s competitive global society.

Student retention is a big problem that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. About one-third of college students fail to obtain a degree six years after taking their first college course, and the United States is no longer in the top 10 list of countries with the highest graduation rates, according to the College Board. The drop-out rate affects long-term economic prosperity nationwide. This is particularly true in an age where knowledge, creativity, and innovation are key drivers in a globalized economy.

With the growing U.S. Latino population, it is no surprise this is also the fastest growing student population. According to a recent report from the College Board on Latino college completion (covered in University Business in the November/December issue), outreach efforts should be specific to this population. An example of this aim in action is Georgia State University. Because of a focus on the Latino population, graduation rates for Latino students have improved from 38 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2010, outpacing the national average of 19 percent in 2009.

Because community colleges serve such a diverse population and face unique challenges separate from their four-year peers, it’s important to monitor and analyze trends specific to these institutions. A recent policy brief from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) does just that, giving a 20-year overview of trends in educational attainment.

I am a bit perplexed. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get many listeners on the subject of the need for liberal arts colleges to offer a minor in business and entrepreneurship. Over the past month, I wrote to the presidents at four of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S. about the possibility of this idea. One kindly responded right away, acknowledging that it may be worthwhile, but due to financial issues, no new programs were being introduced.

With Latinos now representing one in six U.S. residents, the international competitiveness of the nation will depend on the academic success of Latino students, notes the opening of a recent College Board report on Latino college completion. Although the national average of 25- to 34-year-olds in 2009 who had attained an associate degree or higher was 41 percent, just 19 percent of Latinos had done so.

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