Web Page Overview

My Global History Course Curriculum: Building Cultural Competency and Skill for a Diverse and Interconnected World

This course focuses on understanding the driving forces of change that have been most consequential for global societies in the twentieth century.  Along with traditional lecture, the course facilitates discussion based on primary and secondary sources.  Students read and discuss the meaning of historical documents that highlight forces of global change such as social movements, religion, and competing economic systems.  In addition to these primary source texts, students will gain a deeper understanding of the global past by analyzing interpretations of history by present-day historians. Through this work, students will gain a better understanding of the practice of history and a better understanding of what it has meant to live in the twentieth century. <Click this link to open the comprehensive course page, readings, lecture videos, historyu simulations and other resources.>

10 'Best Practices' for Serving First-Generation Students and Searchable Database of Best Practices

By Justin Doubleday from the Chronicle of Higher Education

A report released on Thursday by the Council of Independent Colleges gives guidance to institutions that want to improve resourcesfor students who are the first in their families to attend college.<Click on this link to download the entire report of identified best practices.> 

<Click on this link for the website established for the identified best practices from the project.> With two generous grants from the Walmart Foundation, the Council of Independent Colleges funded 50 college success programs across two cohorts of private colleges and universities in 2008 and 2010. For a full list of funded programs, see the Program Profiles page. Although all 50 programs focused on assisting first-generation students succeed in higher education, each program went about this in different ways. CIC identified 13 broad strategies that were implemented by multiple institutions. The programs are grouped by these strategies in order to help other colleges and universities find and implement the best strategies for a given institution.

Based on the experiences of 50 colleges that received grants from the group and the Walmart Foundation to enhance such programs, the report lists 10 "best practices" to promote first-generation students' academic success. Those suggestions are as follows:

1. Identify, actively recruit, and continually track first-generation students.  Aid eligibility is one indicator institutions can use to help identify first-generation students.

2. Bring them to the campus early.  Summer bridge programs let colleges better prepare first-generation students for the rigors of higher education. The programs also give students a chance to bond with classmates, meet faculty and staff members, and become familiar with the campus.

3. Focus on the distinctive features of first-generation students.  First-generation students on any given campus will often share one or more characteristics. Building support systems around those similarities can help colleges better meet students' needs.

4. Develop a variety of programs that meet students' continuing needs.  Colleges should develop programs that prepare first-generation students for academic success during college and for careers after graduation.

5. Use mentors.  Mentors, whether they are fellow students, staff or faculty members, alumni, or people in the community, can provide valuable guidance to first-generation students. Some of the best mentors are those who were also the first in their families to attend college.

6. Institutionalize a commitment to first-generation students.  Colleges should involve the entire campus community in promoting the success of first-generation students. That approach creates a supporting and welcoming environment.

7. Build community, promote engagement, and make it fun.  Colleges need to focus on more than academic performance to improve retention. Through nonacademic activities, students can build meaningful relationships.

8. Involve families (but keep expectations realistic).  First-generation students often struggle more than their peers with moving away from home. Communicating with families can help keep them connected to their student while he or she is away.

9. Acknowledge, and ease when possible, financial pressures.  With many coming from low-income families, first-generation students often struggle with finances. Colleges should provide financial-aid information to students and parents whenever possible. Creating scholarships specifically for first-generation students can help as well.

10. Keep track of your successes and failures: What works and what doesn't?  Colleges should look beyond grade-point averages and retention rates to assess its first-generation programs. Other methods for measuring success include: college records, surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus groups.

We Connect Now, Website for Issues Related to College Students with Disabilities

Our Mission – We Connect Now is dedicated to uniting people interested in rights and issues affecting people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on college students and access to higher education and employment issues. [Click on this web link to access the We Connect Now web site.]

One of the goals of this site is to help college students with disabilities to succeed in their studies by getting the information and support they need, both through resources, links, blogs latest news, studying existing laws and regulation and through personal contacts. Through this website people can also share and read other people’s stories as a source of support and comfort. We also want people using our webpage to take action by writing blogs, hosting an event or becoming involved in politics by knowing about upcoming legislation.  Also, every month our webpage will focus on a particular disability or condition to bring our visitors more information and support related to our focus of the month. Through our jobs section, we also hope to help empower people with disabilities find employment through job posting and job searching tips, and  if people have any questions we encourage them to contact us. The goal of this site is that people leave it having gained knowledge, a support system and having taken action. We were founded in 2008.

My personal research agenda

This web site is primarily oriented towards my position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I serve in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning within the College of Education and Human Development. I have two main research objectives: explore issues related to academic access in postsecondary education and develop strategies to increase the success of underrepresented student populations in college.

Welcome to my personal web site

Greetings! Welcome to my redesigned personal web site. I decided to incorporate a blog on the first page of my web site. I thought this would be a more interesting way to both enter the web site as well as provide an opportunity for me to share some new information with you regarding recent publications, research investigations, and new things that I have learned. The best part about a blog page is that you can "comment" on the postings that I put up. Look for the link for "comments" at the bottom of this posting. Please make a comment since it is a great way to begin a conversation.