November 15th Session Summary: Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity

self-reflection-is-a-humbling-process-it-essentiOur third Provisions session of the 2016-2017 year explored the theme of “Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity. Presenters shared experience and expertise with the various topics pertaining to the theme, in which sought to explore the shifting population of college students (i.e. millennials, first generation). An audience of approximately 20 faculty and staff members attended to hear presentations by Maria Fast from the School of Education,  Kelly Meyer, the Director of Academic Advising, and Jack Pickering from Communications, Sciences and Disorders.

Maria Fast from the School of Education presented on the “Shifting Demographics and Student Identity”. Maria began her presentation by explaining her focus on helping in the development of her students’ identities, including their beliefs, values, ideas, and thoughts of themselves as ‘students’. Maria requires her students to complete a narrative reflection, in which allows them to explore a meaningful experience and connect it with the content of the course. Additionally, it serves as personal reference points so that they can explain how they see their own educational experience, can help to improve self-efficacy, and develop a sense of personal agency (i.e. how one can make a difference). In this narrative, students have the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned about themselevs, others, and their future careers from their specific experience. Maria explained how the narratives serve two main purposes, an assessment tool for understanding her students’  individual identities, and it is a learning tool for students through the reflection of content and their meaningful experiences. In concluding her presentation, Maria posed two questions to the audience, (1) how can we help students to evolve and change and (2) what can we do with those students who don’t value education or special classes?

Kelly Meyer, Director of Academic Advising, presented on “Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity”. Kelly started his presentation by discussing the changing demographics in the student body (i.e. race, class, ethnicity) and the differences in student expectations and levels of preparation. Kelly focused on the increase in first generation (students whose parents do not possess a 4 year degree) and millennial students (born within the same 20 year time period). Kelly discussed that 30% of the Saint Rose population (consistent with other campuses) was comprised of first generation students. Some of the difficulties that first generation students face are that they may be twice as likely to leave after their 1st year, lack traditional support networks, lack information from family, lack the knowledge and skills to access support, and/or have competing commitments (1/3 may be lacking support networks and information expected). Millennial students may typically possess five characteristics in which include specialness/personalization, conventional motivation, protection, pressure, —and an achievement-orientation. These students are also potentially more at risk, have different expectations of relationships, and could typically benefit from transition assistance. Kelly posed the question, “how can we help students transition, resiliency, and achieve efficacy to be successful?”

Jack Pickering, Communications Sciences and Disorders, presented on the “Lessons Learned from Clinical Practice with People in the Transgender Community” Jack discussed his experience working with transgender students and clinician students. In Spring of 2008, Jack created a group program comprised of transgender students and student clinicians. Within this group, the transgender students are able to share their expertise and develop their sense of voice and communication. The sessions are held on Monday nights from 5pm-7pm and each begin with a relaxation and mindfulness centering exercise. Additionally, each session ends with a gratitude exercise, so essentially each session is beginning and ending in the same place-relaxation. Jack suggests that this provides a great way of building a community between the students. Throughout the semester, the clinician and transgender students work with one another about feelings and attitudes. In this process, the students are able to learn what it means to develop a relationship with someone who is different than them. The transgender students are then able to do class presentations in which allow them to practice their voice and communication, and allow them to educate others about what it means to be transgender. Additionally, the clinician students are able to reflect upon this experience and the importance of language, unconditional positive regard, and maintaining an environment in which is safe and welcoming to their clients.


Following the brief presentations, the floor was opened up for discussion and questions from the audience. Here are a few points and observations that arose from the discussion:

  • Imbalanced support from advisors
    • How to make sure all students are getting 100% support?
      • The new advisement model is an attempt to do so
  • Student engagement = Saint Rose difference
  • Connection with last session- connections of students with faculty
  • Decline in student writing
    • How do we fill in the gap with student abilities
      • Build skill- our job is to scaffold and help students achieve success
  • How do we build a positive outlook on academic supports?
    • Change frame of reference
  • How do you give good feedback?
    • Feedback is a craft
  • Is the First Alert system effective or not?
    • How can we frame the first alert so it is not as intimidating?

Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity: November 15th Session

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In College of Tomorrow: The Changing Demographics of the Student Body, Joseph P. Williams discusses the projected changes in the demographics of future college students. Williams suggests that numbers of minority students attending colleges will increase within the years to come, preceding numbers of the current majority population. This provides implications for educators to prepare for the changes within the population of students in which will be served. The diverse population of students (including the different races and ages) within the college community may require changes in the overall culture of teaching.

Similarly, in A Looming Challenge in Higher Education: Our Changing Student a National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report suggests that there will be increases in African American (25%) and in Hispanic (42%) college students, in comparison to a 4% increase in the amount of Caucasian college students. Additionally, there is a 50% predicted increase in the enrollment of students over the age of 25, typically referred to as ‘non-traditional’ college students. This also implies that educators across all levels (primary, secondary and college) must be aware of the possible risk factors (i.e. low income, higher high school drop out rates, and language barriers) that minority students might encounter. “Higher education leaders and policy makers must adjust to serve the students of the (very near) future, or risk failing in our responsibility to produce an educated citizenry and workforce capable of success in an increasingly global and complex economy. And that, in turn, will have profound implications for the future of our nation.”

In Four Trends Changing the Face of Higher EducationVicki Brannock (Director of the School of Extended Education at Brandman University) suggests that with the predicted shift in student demographics, educators must be prepared to also adjust to upcoming trends. Vicki predicts these four trends:

  1. The ‘flipped classroom’ approach of teaching
  2. Utilization of a neurological approach to teaching and learning
  3. Marketing the learning experience as opposed to content of colleges and universities
  4. Transition to competency-based strategies

Please join us for our upcoming November 15th session on “Campus Community: Shifting Demographics and Student Identity” Our esteemed presenters for the November 15th session include:

Maria Fast- School of Education
Jack Pickering-Communications Sciences and Disorders
Kelly Meyer-Director of Academic Advising

Provisions’ sessions are held from 12:00-1:15 in Standish A&B. All are welcome and no reservations are required. Free lunch and refreshments will be available! Hope to see you all there!🙂

Teaching Global Perspective Session (11/16)

Vaneeta Palecanda presented on Post-Colonial literature and film theory. Using three films, Nowhere in Africa, Beat the Drum, and The Wooden Camera in combination with Nadine Gordimer’s novel, July’s People, Palecanda approaches teaching from a global perspective by providing her students with materials, questions, and subject matter. By drawing attention to the human condition and/of displacement, the texts are used to further analyze the “Self and Other” discussion within the framework of colonial tensions in Africa. Palecanda uses Nowhere in Africa and July’s People to initiate conversations between white character experiences of being displaced and the lack or deep affinity and understanding for the black Africans who have also been displaced by colonization (and Apartheid). Next in the process, the first three minutes of The Wooden Camera and Beat the Drum are shown to the students. Questions about the African native/ the “Other” and colonial tensions are presented differently in these films— intimately and voyeuristically. A question in teaching comes up in asking, how does one incorporate understanding to reflect the Self, not the Other? To answer this question, the global perspective is brought into the conversation. In this conversation, the social, political, and economical transformations and conditions that people live in can be seen and applied to the literature and films. It is also important in teaching to avoid/reduce universalisms and to recognize that what happens to the individual also happens to nations. This brings the focus back to the incorporation of an understanding to reflect the Self, and not the Other.

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Teaching Diversity

March 17, 2009: This months Provisions session drove into the world of Teaching Diversity. Presenters included Shai Butler, Assistant to the President for Diversity, Deborah Kelsh, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Teacher Education, and Silvia Mejia, Assistant Professor of Spanish and American Studies. 

          Shai Butler began the session by explaining why it is important to teach students about diversity, and how to prepare students to engage in a increasingly interconnected world. Butler provided a great deal of online resources and National Practices from Universities such as Indiana, Rowan, and Ithaca College. Butler also shared the components of a diversity-infused curriculum and the efforts Saint Rose is currently making to fit into this curriculum. Deborah Kelsh shared a lesson plan which involves students looking at a variety of case studies and how this motivates students to talk about race and racism using different concepts and theories. Kelsh also referenced a book by Jane Bolgate entitled, “Talking Race in the Classroom.” Much of Kelsh’s presentation focused on the challenges one faces in the classroom when openly talking about race, and the different theories, concepts, and forms of racism. Finally Silvia Mejia shared a cultural blog created for her Spanish 203 course in which students are asked to response to Spanish written entries. In doing so, students engage in a discussion with other classmates while learning about different cultures.  

          The session concluded with an open discussion about religious diversity and how to re-engage this conversation, how to teach civility, and how to look at diversity infusion less as a set aside and more as a broad and global discussion in every area of pedagogy.

Below you will find the materials in which each presenter shared during the session, as well as links to other helpful and informative resources.

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