Veterans in Higher Education

Stock Photo by Sean Locke www.digitalplanetdesign.com

Stock Photo by Sean Locke

A recent survey poll on veterans reports that although Veterans are the most financially stable, less than 1/3 of the Veteran student population believe their needs are being met in higher education. In contrast, those who attended college while active on duty reported much higher percentages of having their needs accommodated for.

Recent articles, White House Push on Veterans’ Education and Obama Takes Steps to Assure Quality of Education Programs That Recruit Veterans, report on the release of a new designed GI Bills Comparison Tool that will allow Veterans to compare colleges according to student graduation and retention rates. In addition, President Obama is “calling on Congress to pass a trio of bills that would:

  • Require colleges that receive money through the GI Bill to meet state-specific criteria for accreditation, certification, and licensure (HR 2360).
  • Give the administration the authority to reinstate GI benefits for students whose colleges close in the middle of a term (S 2253).
  • Replace the 90/10 rule with an 85/15 rule.” –Kelly Field

The Starbucks Corporation recently announced that the company will provide all Veteran or active duty employees with a free tuition admission (Bachelor’s degree) for the employee’s child or spouse.

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Teaching Non-Traditional Students: November 17th Session

What exactly is a “non-traditional student”? 

There are numerous components to what constitute a non-traditional student. The NODA-Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention website, provides a brief overview of what a non-traditional student is. Basically, a non-traditional student is any student that does not complete college directly after graduating High School. Typically non-traditional students are over the age of 24, are enrolled part-time, commute to campus, already have a full-time job, and have children and or a spouse that are dependent on them. There are many more characteristics that can describe a non-traditiona student, but the few listed above are the most common. The NODA website briefly describes the importance of making an effort to improve the college experience for non-traditional students. At the end of the piece, NODA provides several resources for non-traditional students, college professors, and other educational professionals to access.

Due to the juggling of other responsibilities, non-traditional learners can face numerous challenges in obtaining their degree. In Prospectus, Scott Barnes wrote a piece, “The challenges of being a non-traditional student” in which describes some of the challenges a non-traditional student may undergo. Scott writes about an adult re-entry advisement center that helps non-traditional students make the transition into college. He reports on ways in which advisors can support and promote academic success in non-traditional students. Scott also mentions a piece about non-traditional learners having more focus and determination, due to more life experience.

In Success for Adult Students, Stephen G. Pelletier discusses ways in which universities can improve to make college a more successful experience for non-traditional learners. Stephen provides a great overview of some of the challenges that are faced by non-traditional students. Some of the challenges that are mentioned in the article include: juggling between home and school responsibilities, trouble with transitioning to college class characteristics, confusion about the system of college, problems with credit transfer, holding different expectations, and having different learning styles (as all students do). I think the following sentence does a great job summing up non-traditional challenges:

“One problem for adults is the constant, competing tension between life obligations and educational obligations.” – Jamie Merisotis

 CTE Clearinghouse provides an extensive list of resources for educational professionals to access, including websites, podcasts, journal articles, and videos!


Please join us for our upcoming Tuesday, November 17th session on “Teaching Non-Traditional Students. Our esteemed presenters for the November 17th session include:

Katherine Voegtle, Professor of Educational Psychology
Deborah Reyome, Assistant Professor of Social Work
Student Veterans Association

Provisions’ sessions are 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!! 🙂

 

Higher Education and the Future

The April ProVisions session is nearly here and the topic will be Academically Adrift? Conversation & Reflections on the Futures of Higher Education; which has been a hot topic in the world of higher education lately.

Nigel Thrift, a writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education blog World Wise, recently posted an article on the future of British Higher Education. Thrift wrote of concerns on the major changes that are occurring in the British higher education system right now. Although there have been major modifications over the past several decades, the current changes are causing worries based on the amount of them that are occurring. The post, appropriately titled “The Future of British Higher Education,” focuses mainly on the worry that the British Higher Education will fail to focus on the proper things and will fall behind its fellow European Countries Higher Education programs. As Britain’s higher education Program is currently number one this is a very valid concern. Other countries are comparing their programs to Britain’s and saying what can we do better, while Britain has to look at their own program and ask how they can top themselves.

Another blog post from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s blog Wired Campus, suggests a solution to Britain’s problem: technology. Although, it does not go into detail, the post, “A Future Without Courses?, mentions a future where online learning becomes international. Students would be learning from people across the world instead of just from their own countries. While some people are already trying to get this concept to work, it is still far from being a reality and is just in the beginning stages of design.

Thrift’s post is not the only mention of the future of higher education from the Chronicle. There have been several other documents discussing it, including a podcast entitled “Why College Matters – and Why It’s in Peril.” The podcast starts out by making the distinction between College and University. The purpose of a college is mainly to obtain that has previously been known and then share it with other people. Two major factors were mentioned in the reasons colleges are in peril. The first is of course the poor economy in the United States. The second factor is the change in the positions of professors. Many professors are spread too thin by working on too many campuses or working another profession other than being a professor. These factors are contributing to the loss of the college experience and are making it harder to show people the value of a college education.

For more information on this subject read Andrew Delbanco’s book College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be or listen to the podcast.

The Professor Hacker blog also joined in on discussing the future of higher education in the post “How to Join the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (and Why You Want To).” In this post, Jason B. Jones also mentions the impact the current economy is having on higher education. Jones talks about the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education which has a goal of making sure students have a way of obtaining affordable, quality education.(this is of course only one of several goals of the campaign). The campaign is worried about those students that are have been severely affected by the major budget cuts for higher education. Unfortunately many of these students are the ones who need the most help accessing affordable education.

For more information on the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education visit: http://futureofhighered.org/

Kevin Carey recently wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education on the book, Academically Adrift, by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. In the article, Carey discusses the surprising popularity of the book with people outside of the world of higher education. One of the reasons the book may have reached such a high level of popularity could be due to the research on colleges reported by the book. It seems that for the amount of money students are spending on college they may not be getting their money’s worth with the amount they are actually learning. However, Carey also states that the popularity of this specific book/research may be because it is the only book/research currently available to the public. Arum and Roska have also recently released new research in which they discuss two groups of college students; those who are financially and academically prepared for college and those who are not. It is not surprising to find that the later group of students often ends up in colleges where they will not be prepared for the future. Carey further asserts that the reason Arum and Roska are the first to research this topic is because the results were already known to those in higher education and that many of these people were reluctant to share the information with the world.

Npr.org also covered Roska and Arum’s book in an article titled “A Lack of Rigor Leaves Students ‘Adrift’ in College.” This article explains the worsening academics in higher education as a result of a lack of proper student responses on professor evaluations. Students don’t necessarily evaluate their professors on whether or not they actually taught well but rather they evaluate on how much they enjoyed the classes and how much they liked their professors. Furthermore, those students who do properly evaluate their professors are often attending those colleges that succeeding in teaching their students.

For more information read Academically Adrift, by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa or visit http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/academically-adrift-follow-up-questions-value-of-higher-ed/

At the moment, it seems the future of Higher Education definitely looks bleak. However, one good thing can be learned from all of these sources –people know that something is wrong and they are digging into the root of the problem to try to find a solution. We may be ‘academically adrift’ but at least we know that we are. As long as people are taking notice there is always hope for the future.