The Undergraduate ExperienceFocusing Institutions on What Matters Most
A clear, practical framework for getting higher education back on track The Undergraduate Experience is a guide for significantly improving student learning and institutional performance in the rapidly changing world of higher education. Written by recognized experts in undergraduate education, this book encourages college and university leaders to rethink current practices that fragment the student experience, and to focus on creating powerful, integrated undergraduate learning for all students. Drawing from their own deep experience and the latest research, the authors reveal key principles that enable institutional change and enhance student outcomes in any higher education setting. Coverage includes high-impact practices for engagement, the importance of strategic leadership, the necessity of setting and maintaining high expectations, and insight on fostering excellence through systematic planning. Through its core themes and action principles, this book can be a valuable resource for faculty, staff, administrators, and governing boards at all types of postsecondary institutions. The book provides a practical framework for achieving excellence in undergraduate education by focusing on: Learning Relationships Expectations Alignment Improvement Leadership The value of an undergraduate education is under greater scrutiny than ever before, and campus leaders must be able to convey the value of their institutions to students, boards, donors, and legislators. Is a college or university degree worth the increasing cost? Are today's students academically adrift? What's the difference between a degree and an education? Responding to these questions requires focused action by individuals and institutions. The Undergraduate Experience offers practical guidance for creating and sustaining excellence in the face of disruption and change in higher education.
Foreword Acknowledgments About the Authors Introduction Chapter 1: What matters most Chapter 2: Learning matters Chapter 3: Relationships matters Chapter 4: Expectations matter Chapter 5: Alignment matters Chapter 6: Improvement matters Chapter 7: Leadership matters Chapter 8: Acting on what matters most References Appendix A: Core themes and action principles Appendix B: Discussion questions Appendix C: Institutions and programs referenced in the book Index
THE AUTHORS PETER FELTEN is executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning, assistant provost for teaching and learning, and professor of history at Elon University. JOHN N. GARDNER is senior fellow and distinguished professor emeritus at the University of South Carolina and president of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. CHARLES C. SCHROEDER is a past president of ACPA–College Student Educators International and former vice chancellor for student affairs and professor of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Missouri. LEO M. LAMBERT is in his eighteenth year as president of Elon University. BETSY O. BAREFOOT is cofounder and senior scholar of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, and coeditor of New Directions for Higher Education.
The Undergraduate Experience is a practical guide for advancing student learning and improving institutional performance in the ever-changing landscape of higher education. Written by noted experts in the field, this vital resource challenges college and university leaders to examine current, ineffective practices that fragment their students' experience. The Undergraduate Experience puts the focus on a dynamic, integrated learning paradigm that embraces all students. Drawing on recent research and the authors' wealth of experience, The Undergraduate Experience highlights best practices from colleges and universities across the spectrum of American higher education. It includes examples from both public and private and large and small and ranging from the highly selective to those with open access. The authors distill their research results into six core themes that are common to successfulinstitutions: Learning, Relationships, Expecta-tions, Alignment, Improvement, Leadership. These six themes provide a framework for focusing both individual and institutional attention on what is most important in undergraduate education. Academic leaders can use this framework to analyze their own and their institution's success and it is designed to be flexible in order to fit a wide range of institutional settings. The Undergraduate Experience offers down-to-earth direction for leaders to hold a vision for the future, develop an effective plan, and reach their institutional goals.
PRAISE FOR THE UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE "Into the cacophony of higher education's funding woes and narrow metrics comes the harmonic music of The Undergraduate Experience to lift minds and hearts. The book, a splendid compendium of great institutional practices, reminds us that 'an extraordinary environment for learning' is created in specific contexts and cultures by purpose-driven faculty and staff who sculpt an intentional journey of high purpose for our students. Read it to remember why you work in higher education today." —GAIL O. MELLOW, president, LaGuardia Community College "Replete with illustrations of promising policies and practices from many different kinds of institutions, this book is a timely, welcome reminder that it is possible to create the conditions that foster student success. Equally important, the authors set forth foundational principles to guide this important work." —GEORGE D. KUH, director, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, University of Illinois "Focusing on what matters most, this highly experienced team of scholar-practitioners revitalizes our vision of the undergraduate experience and its power to transform. Both inspirational and practical, this concise volume offers thought-provoking observations and memorable examples of undergraduate education at its best." —DIANA NATALICIO, president, The University of Texas at El Paso "Drawing from a generation of far-reaching change initiatives, this is a 'can-do' book. The authors both encourage and provide an aspirational vision of systemic, integrative steps any institution can take to achieve its own design for powerful and purposeful college learning. Through page after page of inspiring examples, they show us that engaged and public-spirited quality learning is an achievable goal at every kind of college, university, and community college." —CAROL GEARY SCHNEIDER, president, Association of American Colleges and Universities
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