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Transforming Students

Fulfilling the Promise of Higher Education

Charity Johansson and Peter Felten

Publication Year: 2014

The recent trend of trying to measure higher education’s return on investment misses a fundamental point, argue Charity Johansson and Peter Felten. The central purpose of a college or university is to transform the lives of students—not to merely change them or help them mature. This transformation is an ongoing process of intentionally aligning one’s behavior with one’s core sense of personal identity. It is the university’s central role to lead students in this transformation, a process that shapes students into intentional, critical, and engaged individuals. Recognizing the remarkable influence of the college experience on peoples’ lives, the authors offer a guide to how colleges and universities can effectively lead students through this life-changing process. Drawn from extensive interviews with students and graduates, faculty and staff, Transforming Students gathers diverse stories to show how students experience the transformation process, which rarely follows a neat or linear path. The interviews illustrate central themes from the literature on transformative learning and the undergraduate student experience. A sequel of sorts to George Keller’s classic Transforming a College—which chronicled Elon University’s metamorphsis from struggling college to a top regional university— Transforming Students addresses the school’s core educational mission: to shape students into engaged adults who embrace learning as a lifelong endeavor. Given this effect, the college experience is much more than preparation for a career. It is preparation for life.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vi-vii

Acknowledgments

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pp. viii-xi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

We live in transformational times. Colleges and universities are struggling to adapt to a radically new environment. The economic crisis has devastated bud gets just as demands for accountability and outcomes continue to increase. Student demographics are shifting, redefining the characteristics of a typical undergraduate. Emerging technologies are challenging long-held...

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1. On the Threshold

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pp. 7-15

As a high school senior in Virginia, Bre Detwiler applied to fourteen colleges. After being admitted to thirteen, Bre and her father “got in the car and drove down and drove up and drove over.” She found her college home in Elon, North Carolina: “We loved Elon. There was something so safe about it.”...

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2. Creating Openness

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pp. 16-40

“I can’t do this anymore!” sobbed Amy Rittenour over the phone to her mother. “I’m dropping out of the Honors program.” The experience that brought Amy to this crisis point was a course during her third semester of college entitled “Exploring Consciousness,” team taught by professors in psychology and religious...

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3. Thinking It Through

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pp. 41-62

“I would say just ‘confusion.’ It was a state of confusion,” Stephanie Badavis recalls of her return to campus after a trip to Guatemala building a house with Habitat for Humanity. Stephanie, who had traveled frequently with her family growing up, did not expect the Habitat experience to be life...

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4. Moved to Action

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pp. 63-80

“Even at the end of that bike ride, I still couldn’t believe I’d done it. I think we all have experiences where we wake up and say, ‘Oh, that changed my life,’ then realize three days later, it didn’t. It changed your thinking for a short time, but it didn’t change what you do. I think the ultimate test of...

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5. In the Company of Others

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pp. 81-97

We asked Michael Bumbry what the primary contributor was to his growth during his four years at college. “The relationships, many of which I hope will be lifelong. Looking back, I think that’s probably the best thing that I got out of being here, was the people. All those other things...

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6. From Individuals to Institutions

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pp. 98-104

Any university wishing to thrive must continue to evolve. But make no mistake— there is a difference between relentlessly creating new initiatives and fostering ongoing transformation. Charlton Ogburn (1957) captured the practice of many institutions when he wrote about his experiences in...

References

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pp. 105-112

Index

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pp. 113-114


E-ISBN-13: 9781421414386
E-ISBN-10: 1421414384
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421414379
Print-ISBN-10: 1421414376

Page Count: 128
Publication Year: 2014