Ready Students? Or Student-Ready? A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success
Identifying and implementing strategies to improve student success all depends on how you define the problem. Often, we ask how to make sure students are college-ready, but not are our institutions student-ready? Are higher education institutions prepared to serve today’s postsecondary students? What institutional policies and practices need to change to help prepare all students for the kinds of challenges they will confront in life, work, and citizenship, both U.S. and global? How can we help students to integrate and apply their knowledge and skills to complex, unscripted problems and new settings? As educators, we must design student success models that value the social capital of today’s college students, while diminishing the power of deficit-minded thinking. Our success as leaders depends on our ability to improve student learning, advance equity in student achievement, and increase completion rates for all students.
Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Senior Director for Student Success in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at AAC&U. She collaborates with all AAC&U program offices and takes a leading role in advancing AAC&U projects and meetings on student success and making excellence inclusive. She is a co-PI on a newly funded LEAP Project “Advancing Underserved Student Success Through Faculty Intentionality in Problem-Centered Learning.” McNair also directs AAC&U’s “Developing a Community College Student Roadmap Project” and is a co-author of Assessing Underserved Students’ Engagement in High-Impact Practices. McNair chairs AAC&U’s Equity Working Group, part of the General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) project that represents a large-scale, systematic effort to provide design principles for 21st-century learning and long-term student success. She is a co-PI on a collaborative project with Excelencia in Education to advance Latino student success through the implementation and scaling of high-impact practices to improve student learning. Prior to joining AAC&U, McNair served as the Assistant Director of the National College Access Network (NCAN) in Washington, DC.