Editor’s Note

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
Frank Shushok, Jr.

“The aphorism, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ implies improvements in the general economy will benefit all participants in that economy. As we hand off About Campus to new Executive Editor, Professor Ryan Evely Gildersleeve at the University of Denver, I hope you’ll remember that your big or small moves in the economy of education—those that strengthen learning, bolster inclusion, and care for the dreams of a student—amplify good and right possibilities for a more just and humane world. This is the rising tide that has lifted me, and it’s why I continue…”

Featured Articles


University of Maryland Baltimore County President Freeman Hrabowski Talks with Executive Editor Frank Shushok Jr. about Higher Education’s Potential

Freeman Hrabowski and Frank Shushok, Jr.

In Executive Editor Frank Shushok’s final interview, Freeman Hrabowski shares some of what he has learned in his long tenure as the President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He stresses the importance of attending to our values, and one that he considers especially significant is humility. Being humble has helped him rebound and learn from the inevitable failures of life. Standing up for justice is another value he holds deeply. And finally, Hrabowski advises us to be open to others. He warns that education can make us arrogant so we need to remember to listen and respect other perspectives.

Embracing Customization in Higher Education: Leveraging Personal Learning Design to Promote Design Thinking and Self-Authorship

Taran Cardone

Cardone suggests the concept of design thinking as an approach to personal learning design and the customization of the college experience. Such customization is good for student learning, Cardone reminds us, because connecting educational experiences to previous knowledge and experiences, as well as interests and goals, encourages deep levels of student engagement and self-authorship. Cardone describes one student’s “experience blueprint,” an open-ended map of how she envisioned her college experience that she revised and reworked over her time as a student. Cardone notes that such opportunities for planning and taking control of one’s education develop skills that will benefit students long after they graduate.

First-Generation Status Is Not Enough: How Acknowledging Students with Working-Class Identities Can Help Us Better Serve Students

Shonda L. Goward

Goward argues that conflating first-generation and low-income status elides the specific and significant barriers poor students experience. They may share the experience of not being familiar with the university system, but the challenges of food insecurity, jobs, and family responsibilities, along with a lack of a safety net, make it much harder for them to succeed in college and get the promised “good job” after. Goward challenges us to acknowledge the experiences of poor students while celebrating their working-class identities as welcome elements of diversity and strength to our campuses.

In Practice

Transfer Students: The True American Ninja Warriors

Kristine H. Strickland

Strickland reviews the variety of barriers on community college students’ path to transfer and completion. Though community college transfer students can be as successful as transfer students from four-year institutions, Strickland argues that both two-year and four-year institutions need to do more to prepare students for transfer and to support their integration after transfer. She suggests that community colleges provide clear maps to degree completion, such as degree audits, and partner more closely with transfer partners. Strickland also recommends prior learning credit policies such as skill-mastery portfolios to provide credit for work or military training and experience.

Bottom Line

About Fat Campus

Terah J. Stewart

Stewart challenges us to think about our attitudes toward fatness and fat bodies and consider how our campuses marginalize people based on body size. He shares his students’ stories of dreading to enter a classroom for fear of not finding a seat they can fit in or being publicly admonished for being unhealthy and lazy. Clearly, negative experiences such as these greatly affect students’ ability to learn and feel connected to the education community. If we claim to care about our students’ experiences, Stewart suggests we need to pay attention to this easily dismissed population.

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