Born to Overcome

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I share a few ideas of how we in higher education should support students as they move forward on their pathways to obtain a certificate or degree—and a rewarding future as citizens and participants in the 21st-century economy. I hope that the work of the Dana Center and countless other organizations, faculty members, institutional leaders, and policymakers will soon enable all students, regardless of their individual transitions, to succeed in college and beyond. I was a first-generation college student. Going to college changed my life, thanks to wonderful faculty and learning about disciplines I had no idea existed.

Sustaining Strategic Transitions in Higher Education | EDUCAUSE

For this reason, I have worked in higher education for almost my entire career. I have a deep respect for students and faculty, and I know that education changes lives. Full Bio. How can the Dana Center work with you to ensure that our nation's students are ready for postsecondary education and the contemporary workforce? Copyright The Charles A. Common transitions we see include: Transitions among institutions: Attending more than one institution to obtain a credential has become the norm rather than the exception. Transitions over a lifetime: Adults entering—or coming back to—higher education while juggling families and careers have increased.

So what does it all mean? Acknowledge the many transitions contemporary students must negotiate, and establish policies, systems, and processes that are more flexible and responsive to their needs.

Our work in this area

Develop intentional and embedded student supports across the entire institution that are coordinated and not siloed in departments or initiatives. Implement clearly understood, guided pathways for students. There have been many reminders emerging from National Forum engagement and research — echoes of things that previous research and exploration has already shown.

Informed by this knowledge base it is encouraging to see a more co-ordinated approach to gathering, interpreting and responding to evidence relating to transitions. Other important processes now help us to pay informed attention to the statistics on the interventions, the disciplines, the socioeconomic factors, the supports and the processes through which transitions can be made smoother for students within their contexts.

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In addition — as well as national level data that help us to get a broader view and to understand which subjects and which educational contexts students are likely to find most challenging, we also have developed a stronger sense of proactive awareness of and responsibility for the effective transitions of students in and through higher education. A second broad observation from the work of the National Forum relates to the importance of the disciplines and of academic departments when it comes to very many aspects of teaching and learning, not least the issue of transitions.

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Engaging with transitions at the level of the academic department and at programme level makes sense. There are general teaching approaches that are good for the transitions of all students; and there are discipline pedagogies that need to be applied in specialist ways to the transitions of some students.

We know that threshold concepts and signature pedagogies matter greatly to teachers and learners within specific disciplines — and that transitions of particular students are strongly supported at discipline level with a really clear sense of the particular skills that they need on their programmes of study. Digital literacy is hugely important. People need digital skills for different reasons at different times.

These different categories are: finding and using information, digital identity and wellbeing; teaching and learning competencies; creating and innovating; communicating and collaborating. Being connected and cared about matters — it makes a difference.

We must continue to honour the teachers who focus on those crucial aspects of their role. Many of the findings through the work of the National Forum show again and again that students need, value, appreciate and learn best if they are learning in contexts where they feel cared about, where teachers have and use time to get to know them, and where they know that they can rely on authentic and attentive support inside and outside the classroom both from academic and support staff and from students.

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Higher Education Transitions: Theory and Research

Transformative teaching at key transition points pays attention to those old-fashioned, ever- important issues of care, time and help. Institutional supports both within and outside the curriculum are key — however we have to be smart about how we influence our students and each other in terms of what we spend our time doing. Everyone knows of the classical problem of having lots of useful resources and advice that students for many reasons, may not be able to avail of or engage with. Take for example our institutional orientation processes, within and outside the curriculum— we work desperately hard, providing lots and lots of perfectly excellent information, advice, web resources, library tours, directions to learner support details.

On the other hand, we know also though — that sometimes very small supports at the right times — even in the form of a single word of encouragement at a crucial moment — can be the difference between staying and leaving, or between success and failure. Of course teachers need to have time to be able to notice when those words of encouragement or support will make a difference.

Intercultural Transitions in Higher Education

Our institutional systems need to be alert enough and responsive enough to the signals that indicate a student is struggling to be able to avail of those opportunities. The more intelligently a system can work to help identify those at risk, the more that intuitive type of support will be activated to best effect. There is the broader and striking insight that relates to that crucial time between when a student is offered of a place in higher education, and when their programme of study begins.

International students experience multiple and multi-dimensional educational and life transitions: moving to a new country, moving to a new educational system and moving to higher educational degree programmes. Within these transitions, they experience differences in the social and organisational cultures, languages, and interpersonal expectations, realities and relationships. Their transitions also lead to, and interact with, transitions of professionals, home students and their families. This book will help you to understand the opportunities, issues, social-emotional-psychological dimensions and evidence-based interventions that are vital to support an individual through these educational and life transitions.