A guest speaker from Indiana University asked faculty, “What does Linfield want to be known for?” He spoke to faculty members about the importance of student engagement and preparation Monday Sept. 19 in Ice Auditorium.
George D. Kuh began his lecture by discussing the competitiveness of the job market today and what employers are seeking. He said that more than one-third of the U.S. workforce changes jobs annually, and the average worker will have had 10-14 jobs by the age of 38. Employers aren’t just looking for education; they want more. They want an individual who works more effectively with others and has more capacity, he said.
“What we hear from employers is not that they want to know what classes you took. They just want to know how you explain yourself and what you can do,” Kuh said.
Students wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the importance of getting an education. However, he stressed that there is more to an education.
“It’s not about who they are when they start here, but what they do after,” he said.
Kuh’s main point of the evening was that engagement is everything. Institutions should focus on ways to help an individual develop academically and interpersonally. Kuh said engagement goes hand in hand with grades, persistence, satisfaction and desired outcomes. If students are engaged, they’re more likely to stay and finish, he said. Engagement increases the lessons learned in class. Students who are exposed to the world and engaged with peers are most successful.
“It takes a whole campus to educate a student,” Kuh said.
Kuh said in order for Linfield to be more successful in engaging its students, all students should participate in high-impact experiences.
Study abroad programs, internships and service learning courses are all key to a college experience, creating better interactions, exposure to diversity and discovery of relevance through real world experiences.
Kuh said faculty should encourage debates and simulations in class. Professors should teach students how to “reflect on experiences, integrate and see connections and apply all the skills in a real world setting,” he said.
The faculty listened and laughed as Kuh kept the lecture light and interesting. His advice seemed to be taken seriously as faculty considered what they want Linfield to be known for.
“I got a sense that this is a do-able project. Strategic planning for this is possible,” Lex Runciman, professor of English, said.
Despite that the lecture was for faculty, Kuh had some advice for students as well.
“This isn’t a dress rehearsal; you only get to do this one time. You’re only going to get out of this experience what you put into it,” he said. “You’re probably going to learn as much from your peers, working with them, living with them, talking with them as you do from your professors. The habits that you cultivate here are going to be really, really huge in your life. Having said all that, this is going to be the best time of your life. Work hard, and play a little less hard than you work.”
Kelsey Sutton/Copy chief
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.