Last week some colleagues and I attended and presented at a conference on Student Success sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) www.aacu.org in Seattle, Washington. Seattle did not disappoint in regards to weather, it was grey and chilly, but the Pike Street Market has some great fish eateries that we were able to enjoy. Grilled salmon with a pesto mayonaisse ..... mmmm tasty.
Oh yeah - education conference.
Besides an inspiring plenary speech by Prof. Vincent Tinto of Syracuse University and some intersesting workshops, I think the most valuable lesson was to realize that the issues that concern us at Lehman College and CUNY in regards to student success and students' ability to negotiate the world of higher education is not unique to our urban university, but that this is a concern throughout the nation. I have read the statistics and the stories in journals, papers and blog sites and "college readiness" is the buzz term of our day, but to hear the stories in person from colleagues dealing with the same issues is enlightening.
Our presentation was titled a COLLEGE STATE OF MIND: ADDRESSING STUDENTS' ASPIRATIONS AND COLLEGE READINESS and Pedro Baez and I presented material on our College Now Program and how we have designed a sequence of courses for high school students to make the transition from a high school based literacy course to a college based Freshman English Composition course (ENG 110). In addition, my colleagues (Dr. Prohaska and Dr. Whittaker) presented material on how Lehman is helping Lehman Freshman navigate liberal arts education through the LEH 100 (Freshman Seminar).
What this conference did make me realize is how far advanced our Institute of Collaborative Programs; Freshman Year Initiative and General Education Programs are in confronting these issues and developing policies and practices to help our students. CUNY and the NYC DOE are really at the forefront of school reform and I do not mean this as political rhetoric, but as one who meets with administrators and instructors in both educational institutions who are on the ground floor helping our students succeed.
It was good to return to NYC with spring in the air. Get the golf clubs out (Tiger and I plan a strong season) and break out the old ball and mitt. Yes there is hope in spring time even for us Mets fans. I hope to continue on this Student Success topic, but for now.....PLAY BALL!