Higher education TomorrowThe Higher Education Tomorrow academic blog is devoted to the systematic research-based analysis of global higher education and its future

Reaching hard to reach students through student learning communities

Reaching hard to reach students through student learning communities Patrick Blessinger St John’s University, New York City Introduction A student learning community (SLC) is a curricular-based program and learning-centered social network that moves learning beyond the confines of the classroom. In a SLC, a cohort of students is enrolled in a common set of courses which they take together as a group. Most SLCs are tailored for first-year college students but SLCs may be created for any grade level. SLC courses are integrated and linked in some meaningful way in order to give students a common curricular experience and allow them to make more effective curricular connections across those courses. A core purpose of SLCs is to make learning more personally meaningful by addressing not just the intellectual needs of students but also their emotional and social needs. As such, the core aims of SLCs may provide an effective mechanism...

Redirecting 21st century student success

Redirecting 21st century student success Elena Garcia Ansani College Access, Equity, Student Success Consultant   A recent Pew Research Center report indicated high school drop-out rates for Hispanic/Latino students in the U.S. were at a record low of 12% (Krogstad, 2016). It also indicated 34% of Hispanics/Latinos between the ages of 18 to 24 are enrolled in higher education institutions. This increased enrollment rate set a new precedent for Hispanics/Latinos seeking degree attainment in America. Nationwide, college completion rates for Hispanics/Latinos are reported to be at 15%. Complete College America determined college completion rates for Latinos in Illinois, which boasts the fifth largest Latino growing population in the U.S., to be 7% for Latinos in comparison to 74% for white students. These gaps have been persistent for decades. They are societal dilemmas that have become challenges for social entrepreneurs from public and private sectors who are working effectively to develop 21st...

Inclusive higher education must cater for refugees

Inclusive higher education must cater for refugees Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta St. John's University (NYC), USA and American University of Kurdistan   Every year on 20 June World Refugee Day is held to promote awareness of the plight of millions of refugees worldwide.  Currently, according to the UNHCR Population Statistics Database, more than 65 million people worldwide (roughly 1% of the world’s population) are displaced from their homes due to war, persecution, extreme violence, man-made disasters and similar factors. Of these displaced persons, about 20 million are classified as refugees, roughly the same number of people who were displaced worldwide as a result of World War II. Established in 1950, the UN Refugee Agency or UNHCR has become the world’s leading agency and programme responsible for the protection of refugees worldwide. In its capacity as the voice for refugees and other displaced persons, it leads international efforts to protect the rights of refugees and to...

A collective way for faculty to transform education

A collective way for faculty to transform education Patrick Blessinger, Barbara Cozza, and Milton Cox St. John's University (NYC), USA and Miami University, USA   A faculty learning community, or FLC, is a group of faculty members who share a common desire to improve teaching and learning outcomes. To this end, faculty meet on a regular basis (say once or twice a month) to collaborate and share their knowledge and practices on how to become better teachers and how to produce better learning outcomes for students. The FLC concept, pioneered by Milton Cox and Laurie Richlin, has evolved over the past few decades into a template for faculty-led groups to transform teaching and learning processes and practices. FLCs are grounded in the ideas of John Dewey and Alexander Meiklejohn, among others, who advocated for active, inquiry-based, student-focused teaching and learning. The FLC model is now used by many educational institutions around...

Transforming learning through student research

Transforming learning through student research Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association    The demand for higher education has grown considerably in recent decades. Over the past 20 years global higher education has grown at a rate of about 5% per year. This phenomenon, together with the emergence of open education and the diversification of higher education, has resulted in many countries now reaching universal access status.   Given the wide-ranging set of interconnected global problems – political, economic, social and ecological – facing societies today, greater importance is now placed on higher education and lifelong learning as catalysts for change to help address these problems. Thus, higher education and lifelong learning have become major factors in shaping the global knowledge society. Because of its increasingly important role in society as a knowledge producer, higher education itself has increasingly become the subject of its own research. For example, within schools...

Strengthening democracy through open education

Strengthening democracy through open education Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association   Open education is the policy and practice of broadening access to allow greater participation in lifelong learning and tertiary education. It is based on the principle that everyone has a right to benefit from educational resources. The term 'open' is a term that implies the reduction or elimination of barriers (cost, distance, access) that allows for greater participation in high-quality educational processes, and ideally, the re-use and re-purposing of educational resources. Thus, the two main criteria of open education are that they are open and free. TJ Bliss and I, together with several educational scholars from around the world, examine these and other issues in the book, Open Education: International Perspectives in Higher Education. Democratising knowledge In the modern era, the Printing Revolution marked the first major step towards democratising knowledge and enabling mass learning....

Transforming higher education’s creative capacity

Transforming higher education’s creative capacity Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association   It has been nearly 20 years since UNESCO issued its World Declaration on Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century. Since its publication, global higher education has undergone dramatic change and global higher education enrolments have increased at a rate of about 5% per year. Today, higher education is in the midst of an academic revolution and many countries have now reached universal access status. The World Declaration on Higher Education promotes several important principles regarding creativity in higher education: Creativity should be used to integrate local/indigenous knowledge with advanced scientific knowledge, Curricula, teaching-learning and research should be organised in such a way as to continually foster creative thinking at every grade level, and Creative thinking and critical thinking should enhance and complement each other. Why creativity is important In the book, Creative Learning in Higher...

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