A few decades ago when people talked about “student engagement” on campus, they were probably referring to a marriage proposal. But these days the term measures how well students get involved in classes and campus activities.
The 2014 National Survey of Student Engagement found that students felt most connected in classrooms where professors relied more on discussion and cooperative projects than on traditional lecturing. That’s something mechanical engineering Professor Bob Woods learned a long time ago.
In our cover story, Dr. Woods details how students gain hands-on experience and much more through the University’s Formula SAE Racing Team. The result puts them on the fast track to successful careers.
Service learning is another component that can ignite student involvement. Prime example: La Sweet Vida campaign, which teamed students and faculty mentors with Mission Arlington to tackle Type 2 diabetes.
Keelie Barrow, a graduate student in urban affairs, served as project manager for the program, funded by a $25,000 Ford College Community Challenge Grant. The effort produced bilingual educational films and computer apps to help newly diagnosed diabetics and improved business processes so Mission Arlington could reach more patients.
“It was a phenomenal experience,” Barrow says. “I learned what I didn’t know and then worked on gaining those skills.”
Armed with a certificate in nonprofit management, Barrow is excited about a career in community service. She’s proof that campus engagement doesn’t just benefit the student and the University. It also makes a difference in the community and the world.
– Kathryn Hopper