I talked briefly in the College of Business Welcome Event about student engagement. I said that “engagement” may sound like academic-speak, but it is really the best word I’ve found to describe something that is critical to student success. We know that students are more likely to graduate when they have a strong network on campus, and when they are connected physically, emotionally, interpersonally and academically to our institution. Our former President Milt Glick was constantly striving to create a more “sticky campus” where students would want to spend their time, and connect with one another and with faculty and staff in the physical spaces here.
Back to engagement—for me that word is a catch-all to describe anything that students do to more fully experience their time here. Meeting new people, going to events, attending class every day, using the Knowledge Center, and talking to faculty and staff (including academic advisors!) all count toward engagement.
Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard for new incoming freshmen is this:
You have a limited window to connect with new people and form new habits. In a few weeks, most students will settle into some kind of routine. Today, everything is new to you and to all of your peers, so take advantage of this time to meet new people and start college out on the right foot. Get out of your comfort zone and make some friends! Check out the club fairs, barbeques and other events that are designed to get you involved!
Make engagement the measure of your days. What does it mean to you?