Students are craving more support and empathy from their professors, an anonymous academic writes in an article for The Guardian.
After surveying 1,000 students on campus, the author was troubled by a pervasive theme: the lack of kindness, integrity, and understanding from academic staff.
Students indicated that greater kindness from faculty—more empathy, an appreciation of differences, and overall encouragement—would significantly improve their experience. In short, they asked faculty “to treat and talk to me as though I’m a person.”
Many faculty members don’t understand how their attitudes and behaviors affect students, according to the anonymous academic. Ironically, this lack of self-awareness negatively affects the students they are responsible for instructing and inspiring, and contradicts the entire purpose of higher education, the author argues.
The anonymous academic proposes creating a more collegiate and caring academic culture, beginning with a self-examination by each faculty member and administrator.
When students have supportive relationships with faculty and staff, they do better in school and after graduation. Research has connected faculty mentorship to improved retention and reports of greater lifelong fulfillment.
Despite the overwhelming evidence for faculty mentorships, colleges and universities struggle to ensure that every student feels engaged, supported, and connected with faculty throughout their career, writes EAB Practice Manager Colin Koproske.
Perhaps even more important than changing policy is the underlying challenge of changing institutional culture, Koproske adds. The outcomes of student success efforts ultimately depend on keeping faculty themselves engaged and motivated (The Guardian, 3/16/18).
Faculty play a critical role in shaping the student experience, but they’re surprisingly absent from student success strategies. Our infographic outlines six ways that academic units and individual faculty members can help students successfully navigate their academic careers.