Student Engagement — Just As Important for Students As It Is for Administrators
By Sandra Barkevich, student, Center for Distance Learning, 2012-2014 student representative, Student Affairs Committee and editor, The Student Connection
April 25, 2013
Student engagement is an important element of any successful HigherEd institution, and a hot topic for administrators. Encouraging student involvement beyond coursework in a non-traditional learning environment as found at SUNY Empire State College, however, can be especially challenging. Students pursuing an education via non-traditional settings often do so because they have other obligations—day jobs, families and life responsibilities—that make attending a traditional school impractical and the idea of participating in extracurricular activities secondary to getting through coursework and everyday life.
By only focusing on learning activities and course deliverables, though, students lose an important part of their college experience and they miss a tremendous opportunity to beef-up their professional resume. It is possible to participate without adding too much strain on already busy schedules, and the benefits go beyond student success to encompass professional development as well.
Some simple pathways for students to become better engaged with their institution without adding too much to their plate include joining student clubs or groups that compliment their degree or career plan, or contributing to their college’s student newsletter. The experience and knowledge gained can be added to professional resumes or portfolios.
In March 2010, SUNY Empire State College passed a clubs and organizations recognition policy. Several informal groups meet at the college’s regional centers and the Center for Distance Learning. Students can inquire with their student service coordinator for more information about available clubs. If a specific student club or group doesn’t exist, the more ambitious student can start his or her own.
Students interested in starting a new club or organization at the college should contact Alumni and Student Relations for further information on procedures.
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