U of Washington trains doctoral students for community college careers


Rachel Arteaga, writing in insidehighered.com, discusses the University of Washington’s Mellon Foundation-funded program to link six humanities doctoral students with faculty mentors at community colleges.  It’s a tiny program, but it’s significant in that a research university is devoting resources to preparing its doctoral students for careers serving the majority of the nation’s college students where they are — at teaching-intensive institutions.


The Mellon Foundation funds only humanities-related programs, so there is still much to do, at Washington and everywhere else, to get science, social science, and other doctoral programs to step up to their responsibilities to educate doctoral students about their career opportunities as teachers.  At the spring meeting of the northeast regional Council of Graduate Schools, NSF reps expressed enthusiasm for in such support.  Let’s find ways to make programs like UW’s the norm, rather than the exception, in all doctoral fields.


Students, poverty, and being home for the holidays

This Washington Post piece describes the disconnect between life at an elite college and life back at home for a student from an economically distressed family.  
Many students at teaching-intensive colleges and universities return home between semesters to  circumstances very different from their lives on campus.  But some of our commuter students live every day in such circumstances, too.  One of my colleagues forwarded me an email last week from a student who apologized for not coming to class. She could not afford gas to drive to campus.

Career services and you

NPR just ran a story on Career Services offices on campus and how valuable they can be. Check it out. The students at teaching-intensive institutions are especially interested in maximizing their chances of getting a good job after graduation–perhaps even more interested than most students at more elite institutions.
That doesn’t mean that faculty should simply delegate to Career Services theresponsibility for helping students think about careers.  We who work with students at teaching-intensive schools can’t afford to focus entirely on our teaching specializations. We should also be helping our students to understand the value and utility of everything they’re learning in our classes–content area knowledge as well as skills and values and perspectives.
At teaching-intensive colleges and universities, we need to help our students learn to articulate the full range of what higher education gives them. Don’t let them leave your class without being able to name all the ways it has enriched them. Name the skills on which they’ve worked as well as the subject area knowledge they’ve mastered. When they apply for jobs, they’ll be ahead of applicants who can’t talk concretely about what they know or can do.

What you need to know about adult learners

Our friends at the Tomorrow’s Professor blog offer some really useful context for teaching adult learners.  Here’s Rick Reis’s introduction to his post.  Click the link above to read his excerpt from the Brocket book and the link below to buy the book with a Tomorrow’s Professor discount!

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The posting below, a bit longer than most, describes a dozen tips for working with adult learners. It is from Chapter 4 – A Dozen Things You Need to Know about Adult Learning, in the book, Teaching Adults: A Practical Guide for New Teachers, by Ralph G. Brocket. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company. One Montgomery Street, Suite 1200. San Francisco, CA 94104-4594 www.wiley.com All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Special Subscriber Discount:  Get 25% off + free shipping* on any Jossey-Bass book! Use promo code TPN25 at: www.josseybass.com/highereducation

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Rick Reis



Barriers for first-generation students

This blog frequently features articles and resources for understanding and helping students whose parents did not go to college. Such students don’t come to us with the cultural capital that helps them navigate higher education comfortably.  They may not know the conventions of addressing a faculty member; they may not know how to get what they need from various campus offices.  They may worry about going to faculty office hours, may not understand how to get tutoring or career advice.


But they do not come to us a bundle of deficits–they bring a critical perspective to what we do, helping us to see old practices anew, to understand the impact of policies we never questioned.  They grow in exciting ways when they realize all the many opportunities offered on our campuses.  When you’re a new faculty member at an institution with lots of first-gen students, look around for the services aimed at them, and notice which students benefit and which don’t.  Be part of the effort to make sure that students get what they need.


Have  look at this article from the Chronicle for some thoughts on first-gen students.



Community college facts

Want to learn about the students you’d be teaching at community colleges?  Average age?  Background?  Why they’re in college?  How long it takes them to graduate?  How many take developmental courses?  The Community College Research Center at Columbia has tons of information to help you get a sense of what the students in the sector are like.  But don’t take their word for it.  Visit a campus yourself, maybe take on a course, and learn what a rewarding experience it is to work with the students at a community college.
Every fall in New England, at Teaching at Teaching-Intensive Institutions, we introduce attendees to the ins and outs of careers at community colleges, regional public universities, and teaching-focused private colleges.  For highlights of past events, scroll back in the blog.  We post lots of good information about teaching first-generation college students and other topics related to teaching-intensive colleges.  Send us your reflections and links, too.  We love to share.