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Abstract

Within a 25-year period, the dramatic changes from college education as a “private good” that serves a predominantly white male student population to college education as a “public good”—where almost 90% of high school students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds aspire to attend college—has forced higher education to face a new complex reality: the students present are not the ones we know how to teach. Faced with a series of problems associated with student persistence, retention, and graduation, the challenge for learning community practitioners is to provide evidence to campus leaders that “the magic ingredient” of most successful learning communities—the collaboration between student affairs and academic affairs—does make a difference in student engagement and success. Without evidence and proof, though, learning community programs will not be allocated needed resources. This transcript of a 2007 keynote was given at the 12th Annual National Learning Communities Conference by the statewide director of the P-20 alignment work at the University System of Maryland.

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