CURRENT ARTICLE • March 19th first-generation college students

Helping First-Generation College Students in Florida


Students who are the first in their families to attend college face many challenges. They’re often unfamiliar with the process of getting into a college. Sometimes their families are not supportive of their attending college. And frequently, they don’t have the financial support they need. So not only can they be difficult to recruit, these first-generation college students can be a challenge to retain.


first-year student March 14

Solving the First-Year Student Puzzle


Improving student success, and thereby increasing retention and boosting four-year graduation rates, is a challenge familiar to all higher education institutions whether they are large or small, public or private. With the national four-year college graduation rate average hovering around 50 percent, the industry has an obligation to confront the issue and take steps toward solving it.

admissions March 12

5 Reasons to Keep Loving Your Job in Admissions


In 2000 I wrote an article for the Journal of College Admissions called “Admissions: The Job You Keep.” It was a tribute to the difference my admissions counselor made when I was choosing a college in the early 1990s and a reflection on everything I appreciated about the admissions profession after three years in the field. In the article, I told the story of how I helped advocate for an applicant in a way that took me full circle back to my own college search experience.

faculty buy-in March 7

What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Faculty Buy In’


At a recent meeting with fellow community college administrators, I found myself increasingly bothered by the repeated invocation of a certain term: faculty buy-in. At this particular meeting, the term was included as part of some well-intentioned advice (“If you want this program to succeed at your campus, you absolutely need faculty buy-in.”), as a means to highlight a successful venture (“I was pleased at how quickly we were able to secure faculty buy-in.”), and as a way to underscore the potential pitfalls of moving the college in a certain direction (“Without faculty buy-in, this initiative is doomed to fail.”). Upon reflection, I realized that it was more than just the repetition of the term that bothered me—it was also the actual use of the term itself and what it implies about how faculty members are viewed at many institutions.

can blended learning boost retention February 28

Can Blended Learning Boost Retention?


What if blended learning could do more than utilize in-class time more efficiently and increase student interest in a course? What if it could actually boost retention?

Retention is a critical concern for schools such as Long Island University (LIU) Brooklyn that work with populations that include at-risk and underprepared students.

Melissa Antinori Berninger is the assistant writing program director and Thomas Peele is an associate professor of English at LIU. In an analysis of assessment data collected over the past six years, Berninger and Peele found that:

Manage scandals February 26

Preparing for and Managing Scandals


Academic scandals can arise at any institution at any time, and a big factor in how well the institution emerges and moves on from a scandal is largely dependent on the way administrators handle the situation. In an interview with Academic Leader, Rob Jenkins, associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College, talked about the factors that can exacerbate the problem and things administrators can do to help manage scandals.

helping students find a vocation February 21

Hearing the Call: Helping Students Find a Vocation, Not Just a Job


Ask any potential student or their parents about their top concerns when choosing a college, and “employability” will likely be on the list. A host of societal factors have combined to make this true: First, the Great Recession of 2008 made families much more concerned about the cost/benefit rationale for higher education, with the hope that the increasingly expensive investment will pay off in greater lifetime earnings. Second, businesses increasingly work with colleges and universities to provide much-needed input on the real-world skills graduates need to demonstrate, while also providing subtle (or not-so-subtle) pressure on institutions to train graduates to be ready to work from day one. Finally, governmental oversight and regulations such as the “gainful employment” rules have turned the spotlight on how effectively institutions are preparing their graduates to find jobs.

Thoughtful Staff Management in Five Steps February 19

Thoughtful Staff Management in Five Steps


Formal reports and general discussions within the academy about department or school productivity focus almost exclusively on the work of the faculty. This accounts for the attention now being paid to the chairs’ evaluations of faculty that target strategies designed to maintain high performance and, in some cases, to drive improvement. While it is difficult to argue that this approach is inappropriate, ask almost any chair how their department would fare without the support provided by their staff, and they will admit that virtually every aspect of the operation would be negatively impacted if they had less talented and motivated staff. Yet, in many departments, staff are not regularly evaluated at a depth comparable to faculty, if at all, and are rarely the recipients of opportunities to enhance and expand their skills.

leading change February 14

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change


An amazing metamorphosis sometimes affects academic leaders between the time they interview for the job and the time they begin their position. As candidates for the position, prospective administrators are usually overwhelmed by the quality of the students and faculty. They’re impressed by the curriculum and mission of the institution, college, or department they may soon lead. They’d be honored to join such an elite group of talented individuals. But then, by some mysterious transformation that begins the day they sign the contract, they arrive on the job with all kinds of ideas about how to rescue this now not-quite-so-impressive unit.