CUNY’s Scott E. Evenbeck is Keynote Speaker at Faculty Institute
“Centering on Students” was the topic when Scott E. Evenbeck, president of the New Community College (NCC) at the City University of New York (CUNY) gave the keynote address at Sacred Heart University’s Spring Faculty Institute.
During his talk, Evenbeck presented seven Principles of Excellence in undergraduate education that he believes will lead to student achievement, greater retention and increased persistence to graduation. They are:
- Aim high and make excellence inclusive
- Give students a compass
- Teach inquiry and innovation
- Engage the big questions
- Connect knowledge with choices and action
- Foster civic, intercultural and ethical learning
- Assess students’ ability to apply learning to complex problems
He noted that research has shown that students are much more likely to come back for the second year if they are exposed to a high-impact activity – such as first-year seminars, learning communities or service learning – during their first year.
Other suggestions he shared for increasing student retention were:
- Pinpoint students’ academic strengths and weaknesses for purposes of remediation and enrichment
- Increase students’ “informal knowledge” about being a college student
- Ensure development of self-regulation skills in students
- Encourage students’ belief that they can succeed
- Promote the idea that ability is modifiable and people learn from mistakes
- Teach students to delay gratification – that the best rewards are not immediate
- Instill in students the ethical expectations of the University
- Encourage students to engage with the University through at least one extra-curricular activity
- Make sure first-year students take at least one course of great interest to them
Other factors that can impact student retention include academic trajectory, psychological issues and financial concerns, Evenbeck said.
He said the NCC’s learning outcomes encourage students to aim high and give them a framework for their entire college experience. Students know they are expected to demonstrate progress and that they will leave with specialized knowledge in their major and skills for lifelong learning. They will also gain an appreciation for diversity and cross-cultural perspectives; take an active role in the community; and will demonstrate, integrity, honesty and ethical reasoning in academic and professional settings.