Are we student-ready?
Over the past few of semesters, I have participated in several of the FPS 2.0 courses, namely Teaching Inclusively, Teaching Methods, and Ed Eval. Since taking the first two and while most recently completing the third, I have continued to ponder a couple of related themes: the benefits of incorporating universal design and the identification of our audience. With both themes still churning in my mind, I recently joined the AACC Pathways Institute #1 Team in San Antonio, TX as a faculty representative. We had the opportunity to hear from many excellent speakers during our 2.5 days; one of which was Kay McClenney. If you have been at the college over the past four years you may recall that Kay visited our campus as part of our introduction to Achieving the Dream. Much in the same way that her phrase “students don’t do optional” resonated a battle cry for change in my student success mindset, so did her newest mantra: are we student-ready? While acknowledging the plethora of worthy efforts intended to help colleges prepare for today’s students, Kay posed the question to the audience: In all of our efforts to help students be ready for college, are we also considering if we are student-ready? In other words, are we ensuring that processes that are clear to us (with the inside track) are also clear to students with whom we work? For instance, as an instructor, I have developed policies and processes for how my classroom will run. These are included in my course syllabus to help students be ready for my class. By viewing the syllabus from the student’s perspective rather than my own, I can consider: If I were a student in my course, would the process be as clear or obvious to me? If not, what might I do differently to change that? Imagine the benefits to both me and my students if I take the time to consider: Am I student-ready?