Provost Achieving the Dream Forum: Student Engagement

Imagine you are standing at the front of a classroom and you notice a student turn and stare out the window. Have you lost her attention? How do you engage that student in the classroom discussion? The most recent Provost Achieving the Dream (ATD) Forum explored this scenario and other similar situations.

Ray Jones, Annandale Campus student conduct officer/counselor and SDV 100 instructor, facilitated the discussion on student engagement. He drew topics from a video, “Declining by Degrees,” which gave both faculty and student perspectives on how to stay engaged throughout the college experience. This issue is not solely an issue for NOVA but for universities and colleges nationwide.

“The College is doing well with pre-engaging NOVA students through programs such as New Student Orientation, First Year Experience, and the Pathway to the Baccalaureate,” Jones said. “It is important that faculty piggyback off of these initiatives to maintain engagement in the classroom.”

A faculty member who attended the forum said that she challenges those silent students in her classroom by calling on them to answer questions. She does not allow them to sit back quietly and instead encourages them to remain engaged. Another professor mentioned that he makes sure to greet each individual student and learn their names at the beginning of each semester. This helps them to see that they are more than a number and that he will continuously interact with them.

Although this forum focused on student engagement, the Annandale Campus ATD Committee led by Dr. Rashmi Bali Chilka (History) works hard to cover a variety of topics affecting faculty and students in the classroom. The forums are geared for faculty and staff to lead and openly discuss issues and themes for student success. Chilka noted that next year’s discussions will focus on defining who we are as a campus.

ATD data driven initiatives focus on persistence, retention and increasing the number of college graduates. Clips from the video “Declining by Degrees” are included below for your viewing. Please look for future forums in the fall. (view from 5:30 mark – 7:28 mark) (view from 1:30 mark – 3:05 mark) (view from beginning – 4:15 mark) (view from beginning – 2:18 mark)

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