Sometimes it can be frustrating to buy a book that promises to reveal decades of experience in working with successful undergraduate programs in the hope of learning something new, only to discover it doesn't offer any groundbreaking "quick fixes" that are sure to change the face of higher education forever. This time, however, it's reassuring. Inside Higher Ed's review of the new book "The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most" doesn't offer any gimmicks or crazy insights to improve your program, but it does show us that its five authors believe the basics work for a reason.
— Colleen Flaherty Inside Higher Ed
- Relationships of all kinds matter. Student-faculty, student-staff and student-student, yes, but also those between academic affairs and student affairs, student success initiatives and the faculty, governing boards and administrators, and alumni and the college. A “vibrant and inclusive” community emerges from the quality of the relationships that the underlie it, so they must be nurtured.
- Improvement counts, and excellent institutions “critically assess student progress and their own effectiveness on specific, relevant measures.” Those data are then used to help students deepen their learning and faculty improve their teaching, and all such efforts are connected to the institution’s mission and students’ goals.
- Leadership matters, and leaders at all levels share a common vision and purpose. Those at the top are “crucial actors,” but they can’t shoulder the burden alone. Collaboration is key, and that happens when all campus constituencies feel heard and involved in the process of institutional progress.
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