This January, I’ll be headed back to my alma mater, Winthrop University to present at their annual Teaching & Learning Conference. My presentation is entitled “Creating a More Successful Maiden Voyage: Increasing First-Year Success for Under-resourced Students.”
The first-year of college is much like the maiden voyage of the Titanic. It’s exciting—new and different—a one-of-a-kind opportunity, full of promise. It’s also a little scary. And, sadly, for many students it can end in disaster. The odds of survival for first-time college students in many ways mirrors the experience of passengers on the Titanic: 62% of the first class passengers survived; 43% of 2nd class passengers made it; and only 25% of 3rd class passengers ever saw dry land again. Much like the Titanic’s passengers, students from less advantaged backgrounds are at a greater risk of “sinking” in the sometimes rough waters they experience on their maiden voyage into post-secondary education. Today we see more and more underprepared and under-resourced students in our classrooms. They lack not just the academic background to thrive but also the financial, personal, and support system resources that make all the difference in student success. This session focuses on what we can do to help improve our under-resourced students’ odds of survival.