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Workshop Topic Detail

Keeping Us Engaged:Putting Student Stories (and Evidence) into Action


The student's voice is often missing from conversations about student success. Come hear stories from students attending various colleges and universities across the nation about what professors can do to motivate and engage them. Discover the research evidence behind the strategies suggested by students and walk away with an action plan to increase student engagement. During this session, we’ll cover a lot of ground, from first day of class activities to the power of relationships, from teaching strategies to learning tasks.

By the end of this workshop, participants know or be able to:

    • Understand student perspectives on what works and why in terms of student engagement.
    • Be able to summarize the research on the first day of class, professor-student relationships, and teaching strategies and tasks that result in higher levels of student engagement.
    • Identify and use teaching strategies and learning approaches that engage students.

Plans for Audience Participation and Interaction:

This session is divided into five themes: (1) Engaging students on the first day of class, (2) connecting with students in and outside of the classroom, (3) using powerful teaching strategies such as demonstrations and collaborative learning activities, (4) creating meaningful assignments, and (5) using feedback to engage students. Student stories (videos and quotes) are used to introduce each theme. The research evidence behind the student suggestions are shared via an interactive mini-lecture. After each theme is introduced, participants have an opportunity to engage in small group work in breakout rooms on a task related to that theme. A variety of group approaches will be used, such as Save the Last Word for Me, where each participant writes one key point that resonated with them in the chat and then each person responds to the point before the person who wrote it explains why it was so important to them. The focus of the tasks during the group work is on identifying ways to put the student suggestions into practice. Each participant develops an action plan and gets feedback about their plan from another participant or two (via Google doc sharing). At the end of the session, the themes are summarized and participants share their action plans.


Facilitator Photo

Dr. Christine Harrington has worked in higher education for more than 20 years and is an expert on student success and teaching and learning. Currently, she is a professor and co-coordinator of the Ed.D. in Community College Leadership program at New Jersey City University. Previously, she worked at Middlesex College for 18 years in a variety of roles, including professor of psychology and student success, director for the Center for the Enrichment of Learning and Teaching, first-year seminar course coordinator, counselor, and disability services provider. Christine also served a two-year appointment as the executive director for the Center for Student Success at the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. Christine is the author of numerous books and articles related to teaching and learning. Her most recent book, Keeping Us Engaged: Student Perspectives (and Research-Based Strategies) on What Works and Why was written with 50 student contributors. She co-authored Dynamic Lecturing: Research-Based Strategies to Enhance Lecture Effectiveness with Todd Zakrajsek and Designing a Motivational Syllabus: Creating a Learning Path for Student Engagement with Melissa Thomas, both published by Stylus, and Why the First-Year Seminar Matters: Helping Students Choose a Career Path with Theresa Orosz, published by Rowman and Littlefield. She authored Engaging Faculty in Guided Pathways: A Practical Resource for College Leaders and Ensuring Learning: Supporting Faculty to Improve Student Success, both co-published by Rowman and Littlefield and the American Association of Community Colleges. She also authored a research-based first-year seminar textbook Student Success in College: Doing What Works! published 4th edition by Cengage. She is frequently invited to give plenary presentations at national and local conferences as well as at colleges and universities across the nation.