Posts published in November, 2016
By Scott Ragin
Improving relations with students in college or university has important long-lasting implications for both students’ social and academic development, as shown by scholar studies. As class sizes in higher education establishments continue to rise, many students fail to connect with educators because they neglect this opportunity to improve their academics. It is a known fact that positive teacher-student relations bring a lot of benefits, including more effective work, valuable personal assistance, and better overall performance. It is therefore necessary to attempt to connect with the educator regardless of the size of the class and other circumstances because it has a major impact on the academic career.
Building rapport is one of the best ways to achieve this task. It is defined as a state of harmonious understanding with another person that allows greater and easier communication. Simply saying, rapport is getting on great with someone and it is generally established by having things in common because it makes it easier for both parties to engage and maintain the conversation and relationship.
There are a number of rapport techniques that can be employed to develop a positive teacher-student relationship. Let’s review them.
- Polite Communication
When meeting the students for the first time, many professors tend to initiate small talk that often gets elevated to medium talk by using uncomfortable or too personal questions. For example, when the professor talks about his or her hometown and starts asking the students the same thing, he or she might refer to some stereotypes when discussing the hometowns of students.
To avoid making mistakes like this, use non-threatening and ‘safe topics’ for small talk. For example, you can talk about some shared experiences but avoid asking direct or personal questions about the students. Remember, being polite goes a long way, so it is better to not make anybody uncomfortable or develop a bad perception of you.
- Try to incorporate humor
Do you have some jokes that could be considered appropriate to use in front of an auditorium full of students? You should definitely try to use them, especially if your humor skills were appreciated by the students before. It is a great rapport strategy because laughing together contributes to creating harmony among people even when they met a few minutes ago. However, there are some rules to follow here, too.
For example, it is best to joke about your previous experiences with the students during the same courses, it can be relevant for current students. For example, if a previous-year student (do not mention any names), has done some mistake that can be joked about in an appropriate way, go ahead. Also, try not to make jokes about the current students.
Having difficulties with humor? Visit Superstar Professor to see how it’s done.
- Passion and Enthusiasm in Teaching
Students find learning more engaging and interesting when the educator shows his or her passion and enthusiasm for the course. This is an indirect rapport technique because it involves an initial focus on the subject rather than students. In this case, they begin to perceive the learning material as more important because it can be exciting for them, says Mia Jenkins, a teaching expert from aussiessay. If the teacher is so excited about the content, why shouldn’t they be, right? As the result, the educator can receive more feedback from the students and create a rapport because they can identify their own passions about the subjects and communicate them to the professor.
When they become enthusiastic about the content, their academic performance improves because they want to know more information about the exciting and interesting content. Well, what can we say, enthusiasm is contagious and classroom is not an exception from this rule.
This is an essential element of any rapport because it allows to see the situation from other person’s point of view. Given that rapport is all about finding shared topics and similarities between people, being empathetic works great to connect with others, and the same could be said about the relationships between professors and students.
Try to show that you understand the struggles of students and inform them that you see what they mean. For example, a student can be late with assignment because of part-time work, but instead of giving him bad grades you can have a conversation where you get to know the situation. If the student really lacks time to study, give some recommendations and more time to complete assignments. Viewing a situation from another viewpoint thus can really help to be a good educator and a good friend.
A rapport with students and be built and maintained using many ways. Politeness, humor, enthusiasm, and empathy are among the best direct and non-direct rapport techniques that will definitely help you to get the relationship with your students started on the right foot. Remember, establishing a rapport is an art and skill that should be learned and mastered, so do not be discouraged even if you are not known for your communication skills. One last thing: do not forget to smile!
Scott Ragin is an online tutor and experienced high school educator. Scott always tries to create all the necessary conditions for the development of a well-integrated personality in his students. He loves guiding other people through their teaching practice and provides assignment help at Aussiewriter. Feel free to contact him at Facebook.
By Gloria Kopp
With over two billion dollars available in private scholarships and the cost of tuition soaring, it only makes sense to submit an essay in the hope of funding your education. However, to stand a chance of winning that scholarship, you will need to make sure your essay stands out from the crowd.
1. Make Time
Realistically you will need three weeks to properly plan, write, and proofread. Your essay will be between if you’ve written it with a clear head, rather than stressed out and rushing.
2. Tailor Your Authentic Self
Sounds complicated, right? You need to be your real self, write honestly about your passion, and your real personality will shine through. However, make sure you really are answering the question, and bear in mind your audience – find a life experience or subject that you can write about, that is also relevant to your sponsor.
3. Planning is Essential
The importance of the whole planning process can’t be overstated – from the mind map to a well thought out structure, you should plan for every single stage of your essay, and the result will be a well thought out, easy to read, clear piece. You should bear in mind the question the whole time – unpack it and figure out exactly what they’re asking you and why, and make sure you answer it. A fantastic essay is worthless if it doesn’t answer the question.
4. Us Online Writing Tools
Seriously, when you live in the internet era, it only makes sense to take advantage of it! Advice is available in a variety of forms, and the following websites can prove to be super helpful:
- Essay structure – this is awesome for when you are full of ideas, but are struggling to get them to make sense on a page.
- Assignment help has great free online study tools, tutorial videos, as well as a community of thouthands of people who can all share advice and experiences, plus a section on college and career articles.
- Writing Center has some awesome resources on how to make your writing stand out
- Hemingwayapp this is a really easy to follow analysis that color-codes problems in your essay like the passive tense, adverbs, and overly long sentences. It can help guide you into stronger writing.
- Readability Score also analyses the complexity of your writing, and helps you to make it more clear and concise.
- UK assignment offers online writing, editing and proofreading consulting for both students and educators. Besides, it regularly features helpful study guide and tips for its readers.
5. The Introduction Matters
The whole of the essay is important, but you could easily lose your reader in that first line. Be strong, specific, and direct. No stating the obvious! The introduction should be a brief explanation of your content, while you can use the body to really tell your story and show them why you are the best candidate for the scholarship.
6. Two Heads Are Better Than One
This old adage holds very true – while you should proof read and edit until you are completely satisfied with your essay, handing it over to a parent, family friend, English Teacher, or anyone in school who works in college admissions can provide a fresh new perspective, and offer some great notes on how to take your essay from good to great.
There really are amazing resources and support networks available, and by utilizing them correctly, you can be sure to have an unforgettable essay that will win you a scholarship.
“Gloria Kopp is a web content writer and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career of a creative writer. She has recently launched her Studydemic educational website and is currently working as a freelance writer and editor. Read her latest blog post here.”
By Lorraine McKinney
High school really didn’t do enough to prepare you for the hectic schedule of college. Between trying to adjust to new surroundings, classes, homework, exams, jobs, family, socializing, etc., it is no wonder that so many college students experience burnout. The trick is to learn how to manage your time effectively so you can get everything done, enjoy a full life, and not feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day for everything. Get the most out of your college experience by using these seven effective time management tips.
- Set Up a Life Schedule
Most of us have class schedules, work schedules, etc. But, do you have a life schedule? There is a lot more going on in your life than just classes and homework. You need to have a life too. But, you need to find time for everything, and still be able to get plenty of rest. Choose the organizing tool that is best for you, and use it to plan everything you do in your daily life.
- Get Lots of Exercise
Exercise is good for more than just keeping your body in shape. It is also important for a healthy mind. Exercising can help you to focus better, and it helps to clear your mind of the unimportant things. If you don’t already exercise much, start out slowly and build up as you go to avoid pain that will keep you in bed instead of in class.
- Create Weekly Priority Lists
At the beginning of each week, create a list of everything that you need to do that week. Write down the chapters you need to read, projects that need to get done, time you need in the library, study time, etc. This is going to go a long way in effectively managing your time, and make sure that all of the important things get done when they are supposed to be done.
- Get a Watch
This may seem like an obvious thing, but a lot of people rely on their handheld devices these days, and don’t always wear watches. But, what happens if you lose your device, or the battery dies? Make sure you have invested in a high quality watch, so you don’t end up being late for classes, appointments, etc.
- Ask for Help
We can’t always do everything all the time, and we all need help once in a while. Don’t be afraid to ask family members, friends, etc. for help. For instance, if you have a big exam to study for, but you have other tasks to do as well, ask for help with the other tasks so you can spend more time preparing for the exam.
- Say “No” Once in a While
Sometimes, you may find that you are stretched way too thin, because you just can’t say no to anyone. It’s time to start saying it, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Let people know why you are refusing to do something, and find ways to compromise instead. For instance, if your friends want to go out but you have to study, tell them you’ll hook up with them another time.
- Be Realistic about Study Time
Don’t think that you can get your studying done in record time. It takes a lot of time to study properly, so you need to be realistic when setting study schedules. If you think a project is going to take four hours, set aside six hours for it. Give yourself plenty of time to be sure that you have a good grasp of what you are studying, and that you complete all projects on time.
Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist.
Why the Gap Between Minority and White College Graduates Is Growing
The share of Americans of all races obtaining bachelor’s degrees has increased since the 1960s, but the gap in attainment between white students and black and Hispanic students has also grown during that time, according to a report released by the Department of Education Friday. (Market Watch, Nov. 20) via ECS
By Melissa Burns
Much good can be said about student’s life: that it is exciting, that it lets you meet a lot of new people and try out a lot of new things; but it certainly isn’t easy. And one of the most important reasons why it is so is that nowadays you are expected to start making a career even before you graduate – on top of all other responsibilities and problems students have. So, how can you do it? Let us review a few opportunities.
1. Use Your College’s Career Services Office
Yes, it sounds self-evident and barely deserving a mention; however, only about a third of all students ever use its services, despite it being literally a stone’s throw away. The range of things it can help you with is impressive: everything from assisting with resume writing to helping you prepare to job interviews. The most important asset, however, is their alumni database – they may even get you in touch with an alumnus working in your desired field who can help you land a job you want.
2. Get an Internship
Most students agree that going through an internship or two is extremely important for improving the chances of landing a good job after graduating. However, only a fraction of them report to have landed a single internship by the end of their time at college.
What’s so good about being an intern? You get a chance to work for a well-reputed company you would otherwise have no chance of getting into, receive experience and, probably most importantly, get to add a few lines to your resume. You may not get much out of it financially, but you improve your own standing and reputation – the same way people behind a website that provides free marketing services don’t get paid for what they do but gain traction as influencers in their field.
3. Use LinkedIn
One of the most widely reported career building mistakes students make, as reported by experts, is that they spend inordinate amounts of time on entertainment social medial like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and suchlike – while they should be using LinkedIn. By the time you are nearing graduation, you absolutely must have your account up and running for some time, but it is much better to do so when you are still a freshman – thus you will have more time to build up your network and promote yourself.
4. Use Your Personal Networks
A great lot of students don’t take more effort to land a job than what is required for sending a resume through a company’s website. When the company doesn’t get back to them, they shrug and accept it. Instead, you can use your personal network. Do you know somebody who knows somebody who works for a company you want to work for? Reach out, try to meet them in person. These kinds of weak, almost imperceptible connections open up a much greater world than you could believe.
5. Find a Mentor
And by mentor we don’t mean a parent or a friend, unless they already work in the field you want to work in and have achieved significant success in it. Mentor is somebody who already does what you intend to do and already achieved what you hope to achieve. Somebody who can give you real, practicable advice – not generalities. The best way to find them is social networking, so use every opportunity to get acquainted with the people from the field that interests you.
In the long run, success in starting a career as a student requires all the usual things: initiative, flexible thinking, readiness to make mistakes. If you have these traits, you have everything.
Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.
Experts: Performance Funding for Higher Ed Yielding Mixed Results
Despite broad national support for such programs, state funding for higher education that is tied to performance metrics has mixed results at universities and community colleges, Community College Research Center (CCRC) researchers argue in a new book. (Diverse: Issues in Higher Education)
By Steven Mehler
When college students step onto campus to attend their first day of classes, they are full of hope. Even if they face difficult challenges, there is something about kicking off a college career that makes almost anything seem possible.
Unfortunately, stress and other issues can chip away at these dreams over time. The result is that students compromise too much, or they give up on their dreams entirely. If you are a college student, or if you have a college student in your life keep reading. Here are 10 ways to support college students dreams, and help them turn their dream into reality.
Support Their Choice in Majors
There’s no money in that! You’ll never make a name for yourself if you want to be an artist. You are a fool if you don’t pick a major that will help you make money! It seems that if anytime a student wants to pursue a degree that focuses on academics or arts, they are told that they are being impractical.
Yes, it is understandable that parents and friends worry about the potential for a college student to make a good living. On the other hand, what is the alternative? Do we really want to live in a world where students don’t pursue art or academic careers because they don’t pay enough? Think about that. No artists, no journalists, no social workers, no research scientists, and no musicians.
- Back Politicians Who Care About Making Education Accessible
One would think that all politicians would be supportive of higher education. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Many are beholden to lobbyists and special interest groups that are in favor of maintaining the status quo of high tuition costs, for-profit colleges operating with little or no regulation, and astronomical student loan debt. Because of this, many students are unable to pursue their college dreams, or struggle for years after they graduate. Help students reach their dreams by supporting politicians who are pro student.
- Encourage Local Businesses to Invest in College Students
If you have connections in your local business community, use those connections to help college students. Businesses can help by hiring students seeking part-time work, creating internship programs, and partnering with schools in other ways. One option is to sponsor fundraisers or to help students run organizations.
- Promote Alternative Ways to Pay For School
Help the students in your life by educating them on all of the ways they can pay for school. Many students are unaware that there are many organizations offering scholarships to students meeting a variety of criteria. Then there are options such as Fema Corps or Americorps in order to earn money towards tuition or student loan repayment. Finally, college students going into certain careers such as nursing or teaching often qualify for student loan forgiveness.
- Become a Mentor
There are many college students who have very little in the way of emotional, academic, or career-related support. Many colleges have mentorship programs where business and other professionals can spend time with students mentoring them. Doing this can help ensure that students are able to pursue their dreams because of the advice and resources they receive thanks to your mentorship.
- Encourage Students to Write Great Essays Until it Becomes Natural
Developing great writing skills is something that will serve students well for their entire lives. Encourage them to write great essays, and to practice their writing until it becomes natural for them. If they struggle, be sure to let them know that they can receive help with their writing assignments until they get up to speed. In order to get some inspiration or topic ideas, students can search for reviews on the Internet that will give them the information they need to find the help they need.
- Stop Complaining About This Generation And Praise Them Instead
Students entering college today face challenges that previous generations never did. They will pay much more for college than their parents or grandparents, they will earn comparably less money, and face uncertain futures. In spite of all of this, many college students are active in charitable organizations, care about social issues, and are politically aware.
- Encourage Young Women to Entering STEM Fields
In spite of the fact that women are just as capable of pursuing careers in STEM, the number of women entering these fields is disturbingly low. In many cases, girls begin their academic careers interested in math and science. Unfortunately, as they get older, they are often discouraged from pursuing these fields. Do what you can to encourage women who are interested in working in technical careers.
- Start an on Campus Food Bank
Hunger is a hidden issue on many college campuses. After students pay their expenses, they often don’t have enough money for food. In some cases, this is an ongoing problem for a student. In other instances, a temporary crisis leaves a student unable to purchase food for a period of time. Because of this, many schools can benefit from a small on-campus food pantry for students in need.
- Check in With a College Student You Love
Sometimes, all a student needs to turn their dreams into reality is to know that their loved ones are there for them. Call them. Send them gift baskets with their favorite foods and magazines. Provide them with a non-judgmental ear when they speak to you about their problems and experiences. If they are homesick, depressed, or struggling in other ways, encourage them to seek support on or off campus
With just a little bit of effort, you can make a big difference in the life of a college student. The work that you do can be just what a student needs to turn their dream into reality.
Steven Mehler is an experienced writer, SEO expert and social psychologist that works as a freelance writer and an editor at a local newspaper
By Taylor Tomita
Whatever your take on the latest political happenings, one thing is nearly certain: the results shook the country to its very core. Many who were convinced a Donald Trump victory was impossible are expressing shock now that the “impossible” has happened. While the race was close, with President-Elect Trump winning the Electoral Votes in spite of losing the Popular Vote, it’s important to remember that, according to CNN, voter turnout at the recent election was at a 20-year-low. Only a quarter of Americans voted for either candidate, while almost half of all Americans didn’t vote at all. Interestingly, even though Millennials make up more and more of the electorate, fewer and fewer of them are voting. So why not? Why don’t people vote?
It’s pertinent to note that, according to Wikipedia, voter turnout has consistently been in the range of 49% to 57.1% for the last 38 years. Furthermore, voter turnout hasn’t been higher than 65.4% since 1908. Further statistics show that voter turnout is linked directly to educational attainment as well as economic standing. According to the general trends, the better educated you are and the more money you make, the more likely you are to turn out to vote.
The Well-Educated & The Dazed and Confused
Science News for Students claims that one of the four main reasons that people don’t vote centers around education. Barry Burden, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, notes that people without a college degree are less likely to seek out political information, as well as less likely to have friends who care about politics or talk about voting.
On top of that, politics are confusing–both intentionally and unintentionally. You can see it in the voter turnout rates since 1900. After the industrial revolution everything’s become much more complicated, and now that we have the internet and more technology connected to everything, it’s hard for the average citizen to understand how their choices will affect the state of the world, i.e. rise and fall of the stock market. In tech, for example, Google Alphabet (GOOG) and other leading innovators watched their stocks drop, while metal & mining, including coal stocks, flew threw the roof, indicating bad news for climate change advocates. Some say that the stakes for this election were for the fate of the planet–which is especially interesting, considering half of the people eligible to vote in it didn’t.
College Culture vs. Infectious Apathy
Perhaps college students and alumni understand the value of democratic participation more because those that belong to college societies, especially those who live the “on-campus experience,” get to experience their own forms of government. Fraternities, sororities, teams sports, on-campus clubs, student body government–all of these entities function as a result of its members’ political participation within the group. Perhaps those with higher education understand that the more involved you get, the higher chance that you will get what you want.
Whatever the reason, education is statistically the the best way to improve voter turnout–but we still haven’t teased out exactly why people decide not to vote. According to Zen College Life, the top two reasons are that “they think their vote won’t count” and that they’re “too busy”. This is corroborated by The Washington Post’s polls of reasons people didn’t vote in 2014, which lists “too busy” as the top reason (28% of respondents). Interestingly, the second reason in The Washington Post’s poll? “Not Interested”.
Forbes recently ran an article by David DiSalvo, where he claims “apathy” is the main culprit for such low voter turnout:
“Yes, some percentage couldn’t get off work or didn’t have a way to get to the polls and other understandable reasons. But even allowing for those reasons leaves us with an enormous number–tens of millions of people–who could have voted but didn’t. Figuring out why they stayed home leads to the psychological culprit of this drama that gets talked about a lot but is nevertheless almost always underestimated. You know its name—apathy—but perhaps not its understated power, and we’d all do well to understand it better before the next election rolls around.”
DiSalvo’s article is important because he claims that apathy is contagious, that “seeing apathy in others triggers and reinforces apathy in us.” If this is true, does it also mean that witnessing activism in others triggers and reinforces activism in us?
The answer to the above is “maybe”. If you look at the idea of corporate social responsibility, for example, and how popular it’s becoming, you see that more people do buy from companies that invest in environmental efforts, philanthropy, ethical labor practices, and volunteering. Think about Nike’s peppered past with labor issues, Nestle’s history with environmentalism, even HP recently–companies that exist to make profit at all costs simply will not survive anymore.
If you look at protests as well, it’s obvious that campuses are hotbeds for them, because these communities are so small that raising awareness in them can have a cumulative snowball effect. Yet, even on a much larger scale, you don’t have to look further than at the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011, which, beyond nebulous income-disparity sentiment and the spread of the “we are the 99%” slogans had no real aim and still spread like wildfire to cities across the U.S. The current spate of anti-Trump protests (and their counterparts) are evidence of this, however little or late they might be.
The point is that educated activism does indeed incite activism–and “educated” is the key word here. These protests are democratic displays of idea, and their participants need reminders that breaking the peace and unlawful action both derail the process (on both sides).
The overarching message is that while educated students are more likely to vote, their civic responsibility may not stop there. It’s not the job of college educated people to inform others of who they should vote for necessarily, but they are the best hope at informing people why they should vote, and inciting activism by acting themselves. The well-educated understand the importance of the vote. Perhaps, before the next election, some of this knowledge and understanding will have spread. I’ll end with a quote:
“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Taylor Tomita is an Idaho-based writer for SavvyContent.com who enjoys writing about the education and entrepreneurial worlds. When not writing, you can find Taylor playing in the band Stepbrothers. Find him on Twitter (@trvshlvrd_rr).
By Danika McClure
Each year, leaders in higher education are faced with a number of unique challenges as well as opportunities to grow and expand their discipline. For educators, administrators, and policymakers, recognizing and leading in a time of educational change will be a vital part of transforming the educational sphere. As the year comes to a close, many are wondering what changes will continue to be present in the next year.
The answers to these questions are complex, however, especially as the definition of what it means to be a college student and how that education is presented has continued to grow and expand. Today’s students aren’t necessarily young adults living on campus. Instead, university students in the modern era are extremely varied in age, occupation, location, and experience. Similarly, technology has changed the face of education as a whole, making it more easily accessible for a larger number of students.
In years to come, educational leaders will need to pay attention to a variety of trends in order to keep up with a constantly changing educational climate. Below, we look at some of the biggest issues educators and leaders will have to contend with in years to come.
Tuition and Student Loan Debt
Paying for college is a primary concern for students and families, and for good reason. According to studies by the College Board, the price of attending a public four-year college has risen 27 percent beyond inflation over the past five years–a trend which is also mirrored in community colleges and private universities.
As a result, American students owe an astonishing $1.3 trillion in student loans. As New York Times author Susan Dynarski reported earlier this year, a staggering seven million borrowers now feel the impact of defaulting on student loans, and many more are falling more and more behind on their payments.
Students and parents are highly critical and concerned about the cost of education in the U.S. and will continue to look carefully at potential student loan debt and the return of interest for obtaining degrees at their chosen school.
To combat this problem, Michael Alexander writes that university professionals will have to take a closer look at their business models in order to keep doors open and students interested and engaged with higher education.
“[There has been a lot] of talk about new business models, but not much action,” he states. It is imperative that we find alternative models for traditional undergraduates that preserves the focus on personal as well as intellectual development of students, while delivering a quality education at significantly lower cost. I think we will start to see colleges experimenting with various approaches to this issue.”
Technology and remote learning
Higher education has been rapidly evolving in recent years. Perhaps most notably, technology and remote education have completely transformed the educational sphere, allowing students from all ages, professional backgrounds, and locations to pursue advanced education.
Unfortunately, many schools–especially mid-tier and private colleges–have neglected to keep up with technological trends, which creates problems.
“Data reveals that enterprise software currently installed in colleges and universities is not keeping up with the disruptive technology transforming the digital experience and life as we know it,” writes Unit 4 author Steve Strathearn. He goes on to report that many technological systems at the university level date back to an average of 13 years, contributing to a technological trend which is commonly referred to as a “digital downgrade.”
Experts agree that technological advances will continue to shape a number of industries, education included. Regardless of whether that education is obtained through a traditional classroom setting or in an online setting, educators will continue to have to balance and adapt their pedagogy to accommodate this emerging trend. As insights from the tech company Report Linker note, “Traditional teaching now has to cope with elearning availability, and adapt the methodology, to make sure both learnings are compatible and qualitative.”
As technology continues to expand, teachers and administrators will continue to have to adapt and grapple with the additional challenges that technology brings to the classroom in order to make the best student experience possible.
In recent years, campus safety has become a prevalent issue for students around the country. Reports of sexual assaults on college campuses and numerous school shootings have long been a part of the national narrative, a stigma which numerous individuals are trying to combat.
In the years to come, administrators, counselors, and other educational and mental health professionals will have to come together to help combat violence and sexual assault on campuses across the country.
When discussing problems of violence on campus, Cyndi Amato, Assistant Director of Online Education at the University of New England writes, “I think we really need to look at prevention; we really need to look at raising awareness and giving people what they need to be able to respond to it. I truly believe people are good to the core and they just don’t know what to do sometimes…”
Student Retention and Success
Colleges typically spend a lot of time recruiting students, so much so, that they often lose sight of current students and helping them finish what they start.
To combat this, many colleges have adopted student success programs, attempting to ensure that students have the support and resources necessary to earn the degree they started with, be in a stable position to pay off their student loans, and contribute to the American workforce.
Some promising results have been made on a state-to-state basis.
“States are increasingly moving to higher education funding formulas that allocate some amount of funding based on performance indicators such as course completion, time-to-degree, or transfer rates,” according to Ellucian insights. “In some states, funding also is tied to the number of degrees awarded to low-income and minority student graduates.”
For schools that are particularly interested in attracting and graduating more female and minority students in disparate fields, these issues become even more serious.
The higher education system is one that through technology and innovation will only continue to grow and expand. In upcoming years, leaders in higher education, professors, and policymakers alike, will be responsible for navigating these complex challenges.
Danika McClure is a writer and musician from the northwest who sometimes takes a 30 minute break from feminism to enjoy a tv show. You can follow her on twitter @sadwhitegrrl
Using College Creativity For Technology And Future of Work
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
As children, we’re taught that there’s a right brain and a left brain. One side is the colorful, creative, artistic side, while the other is black and white, filled with numbers, computations, and all types of boring, binary things. As we grow up, we tend to neglect that creative side, trading in the delights of artistry for the utilitarian skills that our modern day jobs tend to demand, and there is a sort of national consciousness that’s been growing in favor of these skills ever since the Obama Administration began emphasizing STEM above all else in 2009.
Of course, this surging initiative toward STEM didn’t start with Obama–it’s been undulating around since at least the time of The Cold War–but the intensity with which technology has been advancing prompts heightened contemporary interest in the sciences. The rise of automation means that technology is destined to infiltrate almost every part of our lives, even replacing us as workers in some instances, and forcing many who don’t consider themselves “techies” to contend with the reality that nobody will escape this wave of tech-innovation. Even standard office jobs are going to see automation and a higher reliance on tech in the day-to-day. The worry is that the future of work is going to be a drab, dreary place where creativity is stamped out by automation and software, and percentages and calculations. This couldn’t be further from the truth—in fact, automation will make creativity in the workplace that much more sought after and important in our economy.
Creativity Goes Hand in Hand With Innovation
Creativity exists beyond the arts, but we’re often not very good at identifying it or its applications in society. When writing on the importance of creative intelligence, writer Joan Vinyets mentions that “creativity is a key driver in the global economy. However, in the majority of national education curriculums creativity is perceived as secondary to many other subjects.”
This is a shame, because beyond the power to innovate externally, creativity helps to inform individual purpose. It challenges the self against the self, and sparks feelings of importance vital to work. Preston Waters writing for Elite Daily sums up this feeling succinctly: “When you allow your creativity to prosper, [you] don’t even worry about money because that comes as a result.”
Creative intelligence and innovative capacity in the workforce will set apart the individual from the flock, because these are the qualities that dictate how the technological future is going to play out. Consider that we’ve only gotten so far with computers and other electronics because of those who dared to think creatively, outside of the box. Siyana Sokolova writing on LinkedIn explains:
“Creativity goes hand in hand with innovation. And there is no innovation without creativity. While creativity is the ability to produce new and unique ideas, innovation is the implementation of that creativity – that’s the introduction of a new idea, solution, process, or product. Creativity is the driving force behind innovation and the incorporation of looking at things from a different perspective and freedom of restrictions by rules and written or unwritten norms.”
How Automation Technology Will Affect Creativity
The unfortunate sentiment is that a future filled with technology will mean nobody gets to flex their creative muscles, leading many students to focus solely on STEM ventures while the liberal arts are neglected. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In an article for TechCrunch titled “The Automation Revolution and the Rise of the Creative Economy,” Aidan Cunniffe argues that human beings are really only uniquely adept at two things: creation and implementation. “We design things, come up with interesting strategies and ideas and then we execute them,” he says. “Whether that means building a physical product, writing code or organizing a global supply chain, all are channels for expressing our creative ideas and manifesting those ideas in the physical world.” All of these activities mentioned require a certain degree of creativity to execute.
The flip side is that everything else human beings are able to do–typing, driving, lifting–is something that computers and machines can do better. The rate of technological advance is such that automated robots will eventually take over most physical and rote tasks. Take driving, for example: the self-driving car could cost Americans 5 million jobs, and this isn’t just a problem of the future, either. Uber, who previously acquired self-driving trucking startup Otto for over $600 million, recently made the world’s first autonomous truck delivery. Innovations like these mean that technology won’t kill creativity in the future–quite the opposite, actually.
Since automation is bound to take off, creativity will be highly desirable in the future of work, if not outright necessary. Machines are a long ways off from being able to manifest creativity, but they are knocking at the doorstep in terms of non-creative labor.
Cultivating Your Creativity
Employers have actually already begun looking for more “creative” liberal arts and humanities majors, according to WSJ, for their strong soft skill backgrounds (as opposed to hard skills, which machines can generally be taught to do better). Additionally, creativity is still how we achieve the impossible. The truth is that college students who focus on cultivating creativity stand a better chance at getting a job in the future than students who don’t, regardless of technological prowess.
Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to improve creativity. Going back to Joan Vinyets, he says that the first step in fostering and spreading creativity is “to break the myth that creativity is a talent that only a few special people possess.” Vinyets is supported by studies that have shown it possible to improve creativity by up to 50% simply by spending reflective time in nature. Other simple tricks to boost innate creativity include reading more often and even a change of diet.
Whatever the case, it’s important to remember that cultivating your creativity is a worthwhile venture. The future of work depends highly on the innovations of creative and knowledgeable people, and the unforgiving automation revolution will favor humans with more “intangible” skill sets.
Whether you’re going for a degree in the Sciences or the Liberal Arts, be sure you always make a point to keep creatively sharp. Your future job just might depend on it.
Andrew Heikkila is a writer, business owner, and artist. He’s a futurist who believes in the power of technology and innovation to create a better world, and particularly enjoys talking about the IoT, robotics, A.I., and the Singularity. Contact him on Twitter @AndyO_TheHammer