Higher education has always been about the students. Yet, the students themselves are always changing—what they want, and where, and how they best learn. Likewise, at no other time has the student population been so diverse or its needs so varied as they are today.
To stay a step ahead in maintaining the sector’s relevance and effectiveness, faculty and administration leaders must continually reinterpret and refashion the context of campus and classroom for a new generation. They must understand the nuance of the shifting demographics they serve. And, they must experiment with solutions both bold and precise to ensure that students succeed.
Articles in this “Expanding Academics” section highlight actions taken by higher education leaders on behalf of their institutions to better serve the student. “Picking Up the Pace of the Completion Agenda” offers vignettes of college and university solutions geared toward helping students move through the curriculum to their credentials. With sharpened focus on existing income and educational inequality, higher education, nonprofit, and governmental organizations have committed to expand student access and expedite completion of postsecondary degrees and industry credentials. You’ll read about the reach and impressive results of these various coalitions.
The article “Educating a New Generation of Veterans” showcases successful practices adopted by a handful of institutions to help returning veterans transition to college as civilians. Exemplifying the work being done at numerous other campuses, support includes strong peer networks and trained advisers with expertise in navigating the Post-9/11 GI Bill to ensure that students receive their full financial support.
What is evident from this compilation is that no singular approach exists for addressing an ever-evolving student population and pedagogy. Not all institutions will make the same choices, progress at the same pace, or even move in the same direction. When it comes to welcoming students and helping them finish what they’ve started, individual institutions and their respective leaders will be more effective when they define for their campus what is needed, whom to involve, and how to get there.
KARLA HIGNITE, Ogden, Utah, is a contributing editor for Business Officer.