The Importance of Vulnerability and Authenticity October 9

The Importance of Vulnerability and Authenticity

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As educators, we often take for granted the level of personal information we ask students to share with us. In my own experience as an academic advisor, my meetings with students often touch upon the personal, even when on the surface they may seem academic in nature. Yet, although we ask students to share these personal aspects of their lives with us, we rarely share the details of our lives with them. In some professional settings, such as higher education, it can be a challenging experience to straddle the line between being professional and allowing ourselves to be human. However, I believe that it is possible for us to share parts of ourselves, our stories, and our experiences with our students without overstepping boundaries, and in doing so develop trust and meaningful bonds.




domestic violence, dating violence, stop August 23

What Academic Leaders Should Know about Student Dating and Domestic Violence

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According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV), domestic and dating violence includes intimidation, emotional abuse, threats, physical violence, and sexual violence. The abuse is part of a “systematic pattern” of behavior the abuser uses to have power over and control of an intimate partner.
It is also something students experience–and something that the Campus SaVE Act (the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act of 2014) compels colleges and universities to know more about.




Supporting International Students March 20

Supporting International Students

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English language proficiency does not eliminate all the special challenges that international students face. Cultural differences—particularly among students from non-Western countries—can create additional burdens. For example, international students may experience difficulty understanding spoken English or an instructor’s use of humor, slang, or cultural references; they may experience a type of “academic culture shock” in which the instructor’s expectations are unclear or significantly different from what the students are used to. All these factors can negatively affect academic performance and increase the likelihood that these students will cheat.

“A lot of faculty and administrators assume that if a student passes a language proficiency exam, then the student is prepared to be in the classroom, and that’s not the case. These exams do not test for how to use the language,” says Rory Senerchia, associate professor and chair of the ESL department at Johnson & Wales University Providence, who has conducted surveys of international students to better understand how faculty and institutions can better support these students.


Working with Complaining Students—and Their Parents March 20

Working with Complaining Students—and Their Parents

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Frequently, academic administrators encounter students who appeal grades, lodge academic complaints, ask for exceptions to academic policies, or otherwise voice dissatisfaction with their academic experience. Frequently, their parents or other family members accompany them, advocate for them, or even request meetings. These encounters force administrators to balance student interests with institutional policies and for that reason often prove stressful and time-consuming. A handful of principles, if consistently applied, can reduce headaches while promoting student success and upholding institutional integrity.