Our society has very demanding expectations for recent graduates from colleges and universities. These young individuals are expected to jump feet first into whatever work field they have been studying and become a valued and effective citizen and employee. Therefore, higher education institutions and student affairs partnerships must be held responsible for preparing all students with the necessary learning and out-of-classroom experiences to become successful members of society. A transformative educational system in which the student is the focus of the learning experience may be more effective method for developing young individuals entering college. Students must develop professionally, gain practical life skills and be held responsible for their involvement in academics. Student affairs and educators nationwide must also implement a variety of programs that allow students to be introduced to new cultures, global issues and professional opportunities. Universities and professors must accept that current student populations are extremely untraditional and more diverse than ever. Making these changes within higher education institutions will result in the reconstruction of traditional curriculums.
The transformative educational model aims to focus on the academic, emotional and spiritual needs of students. Through transformative learning, individuals can develop cognitively, behaviorally and holistically through active classroom involvement. This model involves university educators creating meaningful and intimate relationships with their students in the classroom. Many educators are comfortable giving instructions about subject matter with the same teaching style. The transformative model forces teachers to actively seek out the learning styles of their pupils. Professors must be able to analyze the dynamics of a classroom and assess the personal characteristics that their students possess. A student from rural Mississippi probably has a different learning style and view of education in comparison to an individual from inner-city Chicago. Not all students are the same, and educators must take that into account when trying to provide quality learning for all.
Classroom instruction is not the only method for learning and development on a college campus. Students must be involved in out-of-classroom experiences in order to fully develop as a professional individual. Student affair organizations can a meaningful and positive effect if they college students aware of the resources and services that they provide. It is a university’s responsibility to research and assess the overall student experience at their institution and guarantee positive outcomes. Areas such as global awareness, cultural diversity, career advising and professional leadership must be the main focus of student affair partnerships. In order for these programs to be properly implemented, educators and student affair groups must agree on explicit definitions regarding ideal student learning outcomes. It is important for institutions to have clear meaningful goals for their students to aspire to, and student affair organizations must use creative and innovative methods to enhance the professional development of all individuals.
As a society we must reevaluate the educational goals and expectations of our universities in order to better equip students to become successful members of society. Past forms of teaching content focused on the rote memorization of outdated textbooks. Our current college students must be challenged and actively engaged in the classroom. Working collaboratively with other peers and staying involved on campus will exponentially increase an individual’s overall learning experience. Absorbing as much information as possible should be the goal of all students attending a higher education institution. Schools must not only teach our students, but also develop them into professional and global citizens.