Student Caring - A Podcast for Professors
Join professors de Roulet and Pecoraro as they encourage professors to achieve success.

Higher Ed... We have a problem.Higher Ed… We have a problem. \ Student Caring

This is the beginning of our journey to help all of Higher Ed to solve the problems currently facing part time / adjunct teachers and professors. 

If you are a part time teacher and have something to say on this topic, we would would like to interview you, please write. info@studentcaring.com

Thank you,

Daniel and David

In this podcast we begin to investigate the problems, challenges, and future hopes associated with the travails of part time teachers.

Sound Bits from the Podcast:

Parents are concerned, rightly so, with getting their monies worth. What are you paying for, elaborate commencement ceremonies or the teaching experience.

Are you getting free gifts that you paid for?

There are a lot of problems in how much money is dedicated toward teaching faculty.

The balance of full time to part time faculty is one that is looked at by the financial planners carefully.

Students taking general education courses are likely to be taught be people who are not full time employees of the university. We refer to these people out here (In Southern California) as "Freeway Flyers."

[box] This article may interest you:  Post-Modern Superhero: The Freeway Flyer from AdjunctNation.com[/box]

These folks are often teaching six or seven courses a semester in order to eek out a living.

The quality of instruction is likely, not that of a full time faculty person.

The university budget gets locked in to this type of mode. Over 50% of the classes are usually being taught be adjunct instructors. It is difficult for them to transition the instructors into full time jobs.

What we are interested in is the effect on students in the classroom.

What about the quality of life and rest of life issues if any, for the part time teacher?

What does this due for first and second year college students?

I overheard a student say, "Oh, we have a real professor." So, there is a perception of quality of teaching associated with titles. This is a problem.

Does an Assistant Professor mean that you are assisting a Professor? No, not at all!

This is a plague on our society where people are coming out of school and working part time without any guarantee of employment.

What are the long term effects of these part time teachers?

What are the effects on our students?

What would our colleges and universities look like if there were more full time faculty and less adjuncts so that the ratio was 90% - 10% rather than 60% to 40%?

We want to hear from adjunct professors so we can further the body of knowledge on this topic and help all of higher education to a solution. Join our community by dropping us an email and let us know your thoughts. info@studentcaring.com

We are pretty upset about this and want to fix it.

We recorded this podcast on September 18, 2013.

Facts from the Info-Graphic below:

  • How our best and brightest can work tirelessly for 8 years only to receive food stamps, debt, and no career.
  • Tenure Track Professor, $120,000. vs Adjunct, $20,000.
  • There are 5.7 Million more college students than there were 10 years ago, a 45% increase in full time students, while tenure track positions have only increased 28% in 32 years. (From 1975-2007).
[box] Don't miss our  upcoming episode: "The travels and travails of part time instructors."[/box]
Why Your Opinion Matters: 

Our upcoming book:The Caring Professor: A Guide to Effective, Rewarding, and Rigorous Teaching, was written with feedback from many educators and students, which was our plan all along. We began by outlining our thoughts on a series of topics, then we recorded them to share with the world. From the feedback we received, we were informed about the needs of the student caring community. We need your feedback so we may continue to fulfill our mission statement and help students, the world over.

Thank you!

Daniel & David

Higher Ed, We have a problem.  |  Student Caring

 

 

 

 

 

Direct download: sc_53.mp3
Category:Higher Education -- posted at: 6:00pm PST
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Student Anxiety in the Classroom

 

NEWS: If you are faculty or administration at a college in search of guest speakers or are planning a faculty development program, we are currently booking for January, 2014. Email: info@studentcaring.com.

In this podcast we are honored to interview Dr. Melissa Birkett from Northern Arizona University.

  • PhD Neuroscience and Behavior, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2007
  • Dr. Melissa Birkett - Student CaringMEd Secondary Education, Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2005
  • BA Psychology, Concentration in Biopsychology, Cornell University, 2001

SOUND BITES FROM THE PODCAST

Daniel: Melissa, What prompted you to study and write about “Student Anxiety”?

Melissa: Quite frankly, I saw it in my classes. My student said, "Yes, we are nervous about the content." This was something I experienced myself as a student.  It became really clear that anxiety towards subject in higher education leads to some negative outcomes including poor course performance.

David: What can we as professors do to help students with stress?

Melissa:

  1. Be predicable.
  2. Provide opportunities for student control.
  3. Trust students.

The first two can go a long way to helping students.

Be predicable:

  • Sharing your expectations with students.
  • Sharing the course format up front.

Provide opportunities for student control:

  • Think about ways in which the student can contribute to ways in which the course is going.
  • Giving some flexibility about due dates.

We can really reduce the anxiety of students not knowing what you expect.

Melissa: We know what we are thinking all the time and students may not.

Daniel: Our worlds are structured and predicable and for them, every things always brand new.

ABOUT TRUSTING STUDENTS

Melissa: Trusting that students will make good decisions and do their work is really valuable.

When students come to your office, make them feel welcome. It is a big deal for a student to come to your office, that's "Teachers Turf."

Daniel: What can student do to manage their own stress?

Melissa: Maintaining a healthy life style. Form mentoring relationships with people on campus.

ABOUT STRESS AND THE IMUNE SYSTEM

  • When are you most likely to get sick? Finals week!
  • Self care is really important.

Melissa: As educators, if we have any opportunity to become as student again, I think that's really valuable. That's reminds of what it is like to be a student.

Dr. Birkett - Email: Melissa.Birkett@nau.edu

Student Anxiety in the Classroom by Dr. Melissa Birkett (pdf download)

[box]“I dreaded being in an undergraduate class from the first day, but you made me feel welcome”[/box]

“I tried my best to avoid taking this class by substituting [other] classes but it was "no go." I even almost dropped the class on a couple of occasions but was dissuaded and encouraged [by] you to stay the course. I'm very glad that I did, because, I now realize how important this subject matter is to having a complete understanding of the issues ... and will take [more classes] in my last semester”

Knowing that the majority of classes I teach come with a reputation for including difficult topics (neuroscience and psychopharmacology) and are replete with student anxiety about the subject matter, makes receiving student comments like these all the more meaningful. Content-related apprehension often appears as a common theme when I ask students about their expectations at the beginning of a course (e.g., the word “dread” frequently appears). I strive to address and allay fears about what will happen in our classes together and am gratified and humbled when I am successful and receive comments such as the ones above.

As a step to better understand student anxiety in my classes, I sought to document the prevalence of content-related anxiety in some of my classes. By the end of the semester, I recorded significant reductions in anxiety. Although this line of research has yet to examine the value of specific practices or interventions, I have shared the results of the research many times with students in the context of recognizing that they may feel this way about a class, sharing with them that many other students do too, and pointing out that they might not always feel this way.

From research literature in neuroscience, it is clear that stress and anxiety inhibit learning through powerful brain mechanisms. The stress response is adaptive for escaping a dangerous, unsafe or threatening situation, but it impairs new learning about subjects that are somewhat less germane to immediate survival, like balancing a chemical equation or learning a foreign language. By caring about students, and doing our best to reduce their anxiety in our classrooms, we help students utilize brain processes that contribute to learning. Among our younger students, there is growing evidence that the adolescent brain is particularly sensitive to the effects of stress. Whenever we can structure our learning environments and lessons to prevent or reduce anxiety, we do our part to improve student learning. As caring professors, what can we do to reduce anxiety in our classrooms and help our students learn and succeed?

Below are a few ideas culled from the research literature in both neuroscience and best practices in higher education.

1. Be predicable. Numerous studies have demonstrated the anxiety-provoking nature of unpredictable stressors. Being predictable doesn’t have to mean giving up flexibility or spontaneity in a course, but it can mean making your expectations explicit (for example, specifying the format of a research paper, but not necessarily the topic). Providing a clear, detailed and explicit syllabus at the beginning of a course, with assignments described, due dates listed, policies for using technology or submitting late assignments outlined, or your philosophy and expectations included can go a long way toward reducing stressful unpredictability. This can be particularly important at the beginning of a course when student anxieties about an unpredictable course are on the rise.
2. Provide opportunities for student control. In neuroscience and stress research, if unpredictability is the first ingredient for creating anxiety, lack of control is the second. Control, or even perceived control, of a situation is capable of reducing the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Giving students opportunities to control some aspects of their experience in our classes can be an effective way to reduce anxiety. This might range from flexible due dates or late assignment policies to allowing students to select their own topics for a research project, to using a class poll to determine the next topic in class, to fully student-led projects or lessons.
3. Trust students. In his collection of best practices, Ken Bain distills a range of qualitative information about how the most successful teachers treat their students into one theme; trust. Bain describes the story of a student with severe test anxiety who achieved a high final exam grade, and more importantly, demonstrated his understanding through a spontaneous but detailed oral exam, influenced by his professor’s trust in his knowledge. Bain writes “trust and openness produced an interactive atmosphere in which students could ask questions without reproach or embarrassment” and cites a source who describes his approach as trying “to make students feel relaxed and challenged, but always comfortable enough to challenge me and each other” (p. 142). How can we demonstrate trust to create a supportive environment, minimizing anxiety? Bain suggests sharing a sense of humility with students, occasionally sharing paths in our own learning, expressing our own sense of awe and curiosity about learning, and setting an intention to share a classroom with students as fellow learners.

Each of these elements can help convey student caring. Each can be considered a characteristic of a classroom environment designed to reduce student anxiety, but a thoughtful and intentional combination of these aspects is required to be successful. With an ever-growing resource base in the scholarship of teaching and learning, new ideas about digital, hybrid and flipped classrooms, and a new generation of educators entering academia, ideas for reducing student anxiety are growing. What strategies have you used to promote student caring and reduce anxiety in your classrooms?

References

Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Harvard University Press.

Birkett, M.A., Shelton K. (2011). Participating in an introductory neuroscience course decreases neuroscience anxiety. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 10(1), A37-A43.

Melissa Birkett is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Northern Arizona University.

 Student Anxiety - Student Caring

 

 

 

[box] Don't miss our  upcoming episode: "The travels and travails of part time instructors."[/box]
 
Why Your Opinion Matters: 

Our upcoming book:The Caring Professor: A Guide to Effective, Rewarding, and Rigorous Teaching, was written with feedback from many educators and students, which was our plan all along. We began by outlining our thoughts on a series of topics, then we recorded them to share with the world. From the feedback we received, we were informed about the needs of the student caring community. We need your feedback so we may continue to fulfill our mission statement and help students, the world over.

Thank you!

Daniel & David

Direct download: sc_52.mp3
Category:Higher Education -- posted at: 10:30am PST
Comments[0]

Caring for Students in our Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Mr. Richard Gibson Jr.
Mr. Richard Gibson Jr.


Thank you to everyone in the Student Caring Community who have been following,
contributing and sharing our work all over the world!

In this podcast we are honored to interview Mr. Richard Gibson Jr. 

  • His is: An alumnus of Florida A & M University
  • An entrepreneur in on-line business, wholesale apparel and catering.
  • Co-Founder (With his son, Garrick) of “The HBCU Lifestyle Blog” (An exceptional resource for college students.)

STUDENT CARING: The family-run web site was inspired by sending their son & grandson to college. Their intent is to bring students, alumni, and the community together in preserving the HBCU tradition.

Richard, we are honored to speak with you today, thank you for joining us. To begin, here is a quote from your website:
H.B.C.U. || Student Caring

RICHARD: Yes, indeed. It is a quote from Oprah Winfrey's speech to the graduating class of Spelman College last year.

[embedplusvideo height="392" width="480" editlink="http://bit.ly/14vmFEv" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bpx8uNzRdew?fs=1&hd=1" vars="ytid=Bpx8uNzRdew&width=480&height=392&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=" id="ep6525" /]

We are part of a generation that has benefited from the inspiration that our fore-parents have given us.
In this day's generation, it's easy to forget from whence you came.

Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell

Song Lyrics for "We Are"
From Lessons by Y.M. Barnwell ©1993

For each child that's born
a morning star rises
and sings to the universe
who we are.

We are our grandmothers' prayers.
We are our grandfathers' dreamings.
We are the breath of our ancestors.
We are the spirit of God.

We are
Mothers of courage
Fathers of time
Daughters of dust
Sons of great vision.
We are
Sisters of mercy
Brothers of love
Lovers of life and
the builders of nations.
We are
Seekers of truth
Keepers of faith
Makers of peace and
the wisdom of ages.

We are our grandmothers' prayers.
We are our grandfathers' dreamings.
We are the breath of our ancestors.
We are the spirit of God.

For each child that's born
a morning star rises
and sings to the universe
who we are.

WE ARE ONE.

STUDENT CARING: What were the challenges for HBCU students in the past and what are they today?
RICHARD: I get to see kids before they go off to college and I can tell you that:
  • Unfortunately a lot of our people are not prepared, fully to go to college. The preparation is not as strong as it was back-in-the-day when I was there where our teachers exhorted us. They really pushed the whole piece of our getting an education. They are not prepared to take on the riggers of a college life.
  • The second challenge is financing a college education. A large number of students at the HBCU's are dependent on the PELL GRANT. This is unfortunate, because many of them are struggling financially to just "Stay in College."
  • The third challenge is to find a job once they graduate.

Our teachers were much more rigorous in making sure we were prepared to go to college. You see a different attitude about education today from back then, so consequently, the drive, the love, is not as strong as back in the day that I came from.

In the late 60's we were in the middle of the revolution. Those things propelled us to think about what we were doing. Our teachers were more focused on getting us the best education. Those teachers were dedicated!

STUDENT CARING:  What can we as professors, do to help today's students?

RICHARD:  I think the best thing you can do is re-connect the students with today's world. I find that a lot of students are more concerned with "stuff." Students are disconnected from the world of reality. The first five minutes of each class, the professors might just talk an issue that is going on in the world. Connect them.

STUDENT CARING: A former student told me: "I am amazed at how many movies my fellow students can watch in a semester."

RICHARD: There has to be a sense of purpose and drive.

STUDENT CARING: Is there anything else you would like to share with the Student Caring Community?

RICHARD: We need young people to become involved with mental health issues. We want them to be involved in the world, not just social media. I hope that you, through your website, and similar kinds of media, you can inspire young people to get involved and stay involved to make meaningful changes in this world. So that you can look back and say "Gee, we made an important historic mark on the world, we really made a difference."

hbcu-lifestyle-logo-350x270

This episode was recorded on Wednesday, August 21, 2013.

 

Student Caring on Stitcher Radio
Student Caring on Stitcher Radio
Why Your Opinion Matters: 

Our upcoming book:The Caring Professor: A Guide to Effective, Rewarding, and Rigorous Teaching, was written with feedback from many educators and students, which was our plan all along. We began by outlining our thoughts on a series of topics, then we recorded them to share with the world. From the feedback we received, we were informed about the needs of the student caring community. We need your feedback so we may continue to fulfill our mission statement and help students, the world over.

Thank you!

Daniel & David

Direct download: sc_51.mp3
Category:Higher Education -- posted at: 4:49pm PST
Comments[0]

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