It’s August and you can feel a change in the air. There is a bit more buzz on campus. School is just around the corner.
This was brought into sharp focus this morning as I stood in line for coffee in our campus library. Two women in front of me commented that the “students are coming.” After a moment discussing how parking gets tight when the students return, the barista behind the counter, who has been here for 20 years, replied that she couldn’t wait for the students to come back. “They’re the reason we’re here,” she said emphatically. She went on to say how much she enjoyed watching graduates go out into the world and make it a better place. One of the women waiting for her latte commented about how much it has meant to receive notes years later from students whose life she touched in some way.
None of the people I observed this morning teach students in the classroom. They teach students in a multitude of ways outside the formal classroom. As co-workers at the coffee shop, they educate students about customer service, punctuality, and doing a job well. They educate in the value of being involved on campus and contributing to one’s community. Watching this conversation unfold, I thought about my colleague and fellow University of Iowa alum, Jeremy Reed’s research on the campus custodian. Staff members across campus interact with students in ways that nurture students’ holistic development and success.
Classroom instructors, guidance counselors, student affairs and services staff, custodians, baristas, and coaches – we’re all in this together. It takes an entire community’s commitment to foster student success. Great research and innovative practice is taking place all over the world in this respect. I invite you to share at the upcoming International Conference on Learning, Teaching, and Student Success this November 3-5 in Bozeman, Montana on the campus of Montana State University. Proposals are accepted through September 30 and the early bird registration rate is available through September 11, 2016.
Come be part of the community taking action to support student success!