Revisiting Resources

To revisit our 2nd meeting’s discussion on resources, I feel the Excelsior Scholarship should be listed under the Financial Aid section of the webpage we reviewed. Students interested in applying for the scholarship have expressed confusion about eligibility and the application process. While Financial Aid’s webpage does offer information, a specific link in their section under Resources for Advisement would provide additional accessibility.

Thoughts on student stories

I was quite impressed by the stories, the students really did seem to reflect on their experience and honestly share their thoughts. As faculty many times we are being pulled in so many directions , so many commitments that we don’t prioritize as we should.

Reading reflections or better yet taking the time to talk  to our students once in a while can help us stay grounded.

Expert Brain

I was hired for my expertise but am I (or my students) suffering from my “expert brain?” That’s what I thought about as I reflected upon “Our Stories” during our first Student Ready College Committee meeting for the semester.

My expertise represents my mastery of a particular subject.  I once thought that was all that students needed from me; to know the subject matter and know it well! Apparently that’s not all that they need. Am I so engulfed in my “expert brain” that I’m missing all the contextual factors of a college experience? These same factors that can, and often do, interfere with what we do in the classroom.

Rethinking infrastructure and supports

I read a great article from the NY Times that I  found to be apropos of this discussion. As mentioned in the article, I think predictive analytics would be very useful. Data from past students’ records high school grades, SAT scores, Regents scores, etc) create a “profile” we use to help identify incoming students who have a stronger likelihood of poor academic performance. The next step would be offering the necessary, relevant supports for success. We shouldn’t be waiting for students to ask for help, we should be reaching out to them.

I’m not sure if any of you have already read this article or if it’s already been posted here somewhere, but in case you’d like to read it:

My Two Cents

During our last meeting, I jotted down a few ideas. As these were more specific to me and the PTW program, I’ve noted only a couple general points below.

  • Base “student success” initiatives on recent research finding with our student population that is conducted by educational research experts. Self-reported data from students is a good start, but more robust studies would be extremely useful.
  • Have an actual “open door” policy. Based on my visit to the Biomedical Informatics program offices in the new Academic Complex, being able to meet with faculty there is antithetical to the purported “open door” policy.

Our Stories – Reflection

I participated in my first SRC meeting last week and had the opportunity to learn a bit more about the new student experience by reading through a number of Our Stories. I shared them with a colleague and we spoke about the importance of tying the college experience to career interests/exploration as early as possible. We also spoke about the need to reinforce this link throughout their education at City Tech (both inside and outside of the classroom), especially as interests may change over time.

Thoughts on Student College Ready Course before Freshman Year

Hi all & Happy Spring!

I attended the Online Learning Committee’s (OLAC)  presentation to the department chairs today and one issue that was raised during the meeting was getting student prepared to take online courses before they do. I thought that this dovetails with our discussions about getting students ready for City Tech overall and I thought it would be ideal if students had their first taste of online learning in a online course they would take in July or August before the first day of classes. This would replace the in-person class that the college used to offer and that no longer is offered due to lack of resources.

This  online course could make use of a virtual tour of the campus building either animated or in video form and a range of other resources. I think members of the OLAC  committee, many of whom have years of doing online courses here at City Tech could be involved in this initiative.  Just some thoughts for our next meeting.


Another Article to Share

I thought that this article from my alma mater, UCONN, featured an interesting initiative that would be useful to all our students, but particularly freshman students. It is about a mailbox with a journal that students can write anonymously about their experiences and people can reply. It was started by the counseling department and now has begun a campus tradition that students find very helpful. See article at:

A Little Push

Hope you enjoy the article. Best, T. Goetz

Great article for new (and not-so-new) students!

Hi, here is a terrific article from today’s NY Times by my favorite opinion writer that offers great advice, maybe you’ve seen it: How to Get the Most Out of College.  From the introduction: “We overwhelm teenagers with advice about choosing a college. Go big. Go small. Put prestige above cost. Do the opposite. . . . And then? We go mum, mustering less urgency and fewer words for the subject of actually navigating the crucial college years to best effect. It’s strange. And it’s stupid, because how a student goes to school matters much, much more than where.”

I plan to share it with students attending my department orientation this week, and with my classes, and probably others.  I hope you enjoy it!

Kerin Coughlin