Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Adapting to Achieve

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Adapting to Achieve

Article excerpt

Tailoring higher education to meet the needs of diverse learners will help the U.S. become globally competitive.

In 2003, the United States ranked 24th in math, 15th in reading and 20th in science in comparative performance of its 15-year-old students in the 2003 Programme for International Student Assessments (PISA) among 29 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Fast forward to 2009, and it is not surprising to find the number of students in U.S. colleges and universities that are underprepared for collegelevel work. Some of the students represented in the 2003 PISA have already swirled in and out of college and are returning to join nontraditional adult learners. What they did not learn the first time, or have since forgotten, requires that institutions of higher education (often, community colleges) provide crucial remedial or developmental education for them to be college- and career-ready.

For the United States to be competitive globally, increasing the number of students who complete a certificate or degree that is aligned with higher-value-added labor market skill demands will be critical. Unfortunately, many educational institutions are not equipped to offer the necessary student and academic support, policies, practices, content and care that are required to help students succeed. Despite the nation's long tradition of being a melting pot, multicultural appreciation and global citizenship remain foreign concepts in many U.S. colleges and universities. The nation's changing demographics also suggest that a heightened appreciation and understanding of diversity and citizenship will be essential learning for many institutions and their stakeholders. Furthermore, tailoring educational offerings to meet the needs of diverse learners will require new ways of working with students, faculty, administrators, trustees and other stakeholders to increase student success. How do institutions dig in and help students achieve their educational and career goals?

Each year, the Community College Leadership Program in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin conducts a Board of Trustee Institute (BOTI) for Texas community colleges that participate in Achieving the Dream, a national initiative to improve student equity and success. …

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