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Posted by Stokes Schwartz about 2 years ago

Hello again everyone! Our reading group on Student Engagement and Success is slated to meat for 90 minutes this Friday morning (October 22nd) at 10am. Hope to see you then. For your convenience, here are the questions we'll discuss (or use as jumping off points) related to Chapter One in our book Student Engagement in Higher Education, Third Edition:

Questions on Pendakur, Quaye, and Harper (Ch. 1)

1) What is your view of Pendakur, Quaye, and Harper’s assertion that U.S. higher education, in general, is obligated to do more to foster student engagement within and beyond the classroom? What might be some practical challenges to do that?

2) In the Preface, Pendakur, Quaye, and Harper suggest that there is something temporally specific about the crisis of engagement they and their contributors describe. How would you describe engagement as a timely matter? In other words - what shape(s) does the issue of engagement take in 2021?

3) At the micro level (within our own teaching, advising, or other close work with students), how might we address the issue? What are some concrete steps we might take?

4) Describe your reaction(s) to the approach advocated at the bottom of p. 6, “Faculty and student affairs educators must foster the conditions to enable diverse populations of students to be engaged, persist, and thrive.” Where do you see difficulties with that aim? How might you nevertheless integrate that goal into your own practices? What might you change or adapt?

5) What makes PQH’s intersectional and anti-deficit lens appealing for this type of research? In particular, how do you respond to the book’s organizational reliance upon identity-based systems of oppression (which, we should note, we’ve proposed to use as an organizing principle for our discussions as well)?

6) What are some concrete ways we might be more intentional in our teaching/advising practices or other close work with students when it comes to cultivating their engagement. How do we help them to help themselves?

7) Pendakur, Quaye, and Harper discuss Tinto’s assertion that academic (and social) communities are key to student engagement, performance, and retention (4-5). What is your own view? How might the use of academic communities (student learning teams) nevertheless present challenges of one kind or another? What might be some concrete steps we could take to ease or avoid potential issues?

8) Near the end of Chapter One, Pendakur, Quaye, and Harper acknowledge that “Linking theory and practice is not simple” (12). Realistically, how might we achieve at least some of what they call for? How could we maximize results -- “the amount of time and effort students put into their [Gen. Ed. or Prereq.] studies” -- without completely redesigning our courses and component classes/modules?

9) In the “Distinguishing Educationally Purposeful Engagement” section, PQH mention the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which has collected data on ten engagement indicators for approx. 4,000,000 college students since 2000. What, if any, familiarity do you have with the NSSE, and how do you respond to their engagement indicators (subcategorized under Academic Challenge, Learning with Peers, Experiences with Faculty, Campus Environment) and High-Impact Practices (service learning, study abroad, research with faculty, internships)?

10) PQH deride the so-called “magical thinking” philosophy that undergirds much traditional scholarship of engagement and insist, instead, that “educators must facilitate structured opportunities for these dialogues to transpire” (8). What experience have you had with this type of facilitation? How did it seem to benefit the students involved?

11) For your own courses, what would you prioritize when it comes to fostering greater student engagement? How might you create or improve conditions that could facilitate that?