Campus News

NSSE official will discuss how to shape ‘powerful learning experiences’

A leading authority on student engagement and collegiate teaching methods will deliver a lecture at UGA on April 17 at 9 a.m. in Georgia Hall of the Tate Student Center.

Jillian Kinzie, who works with the National Survey of Student Engagement, said her talk will focus on how college instructors can better help students prepare for life in the 21st century and how to get students to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

“Student success in college has never been more important because not only do we have more students coming to college than ever before. . . but we also need more students to be prepared for the 21st century with a college education,” she said. “These things coalesce and make us want to think ­differently about how we’re preparing our ­students.”

Although more students are coming to college than ever before, graduation rates remain stagnant, with about 40 percent of all students failing to earn a degree after six years, Kinzie said. Part of the disconnect may come from professors who do not challenge the students in new ways suited to their strengths.

“There are some things that concern me, like the educators in higher education who have not thought differently about how this generation may be able to take advantage of all the resources on campus,” she said. “We know students are coming in with great technology skills before they get to campus, but how are we taking advantage of those skills?”

With more students on campus, diversity is playing a major role in learning and interacting, but teaching methods are not changing and reacting to new students.

“We’re not homogenous—not that we ever were—but now we’re starting to realize this and work with it,” Kinzie said. “We have many more students from different backgrounds and even older, nontraditional students. And as this is happening, we’re also just beginning to hold institutions accountable for what they teach.”

Kinzie is the associate director of the Center for Postsecondary Research at the NSSE’s Institute for Effective Educational Practice. Her lecture is entitled “Shaping Powerful Learning Experiences: Using What We Know Matters to Student Engagement and Success.”