Documentation:New Faculty Orientation Guide/Student Success

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What is it

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Academic success is certainly a major aspect of student success, but it is not only about students' intellectual development. Student success is intricately linked with their personal growth, such as developing a sense of who they are, and their learning experiences in non-intellectual domains, such as social, emotional and physical domains (Ambrose et al., 2010). As a faculty member, you can do so much more than teaching the course content to support your students in achieving their full potential.

Why it Matters

In your role as an instructor, you have the ability to create a learning environment that supports students not only intellectually but holistically. Studies show that students’ sense of belonging and growth mindset have important implications for their academic success (Dweck et al., 2014). Students feel more intrinsically motivated to learn when they find the subject matter interesting, relevant or meaningful to them. For example, you can enhance students’ sense of belonging and motivation by presenting multiple and diverse examples to explain a concept so that students of different backgrounds and identities can see themselves or their life experiences reflected. In addition, you can convey your high expectations and belief that all students can develop their abilities to succeed in the course. When students receive the necessary support to grow and learn, they persist and thrive.

Get Started

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To support student success, use learner-centred teaching strategies that respond to students’ varied learning needs. To do so, it is important to try to get to know your students. For example, you can spend some time on the first day of class or in each class to get to know your students, conduct a survey to understand their individual strengths and needs, and develop a sense of community to promote social belonging among the students (see page 28 for suggested strategies). In addition, to ensure every student can engage with the course in a way that meets their learning needs, you can engage with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in your course design. UDL is an educational framework that guides the development of flexible learning environments that can integrate individual learning differences. Moreover, you can introduce resources, such as the UBC Learning Commons, to help students develop foundational skills for learning, such as note taking and time management. network. Openness about the challenges you face and involvement of students in broader dialogues with your peers help assimilate students into the professional culture and broaden their learning experiences.

Supervising Grad Students

To support student success, use learner-centred teaching strategies that respond to students’ varied learning needs. To do so, it is important to try to get to know your students. For example, you can spend some network. Openness about the challenges you face and involvement of students in broader dialogues with your peers help assimilate students into the professional culture and broaden their learning experiences.

A Word on Wellbeing

Academic careers are demanding and faculty undergo many stresses, which can result in depression, anxiety and burnout. Focusing on your personal health can benefit your own wellbeing and that of your colleagues and students. Connections you forge with your colleagues and peers can be invaluable to your wellbeing and to your development as a faculty member. UBC offers support for faculty and opportunities to network with peers through the UBC Wellbeing Initiative , the Coaching @UBC program, various fitness programs , CTLT’s programs and events and more.

Go Further

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The following is a list of resources that may help support students’ success:

Helpful Hint

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Student success is not only about academic success. Support the student as a whole person.

Faculty Spotlight - Student Success

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Dana Devine, PhD Professor and Graduate Studies Program Director


Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

It’s my role to help my graduate students be the best people that they can be. This involves much more than learning how to do good science. We must encourage our students to be engaged citizens of the world. This involves ensuring they get out of the lab and classroom and do more than their degree requirements: engage with nature, be physically active, create and grow personally. We owe our students the latitude to take advantage of the many programs that UBC offers to graduate students to help them develop skills that will be valuable in more than just campus life. Graduate school is hard and students must be both intellectually challenged and emotionally supported. My hopes for the graduate students I mentor are that they leave UBC as well-trained scientists who are honest and open communicators, societally engaged and unafraid to care about other people. These are the graduate students who will change the world.