Statement of Educational Philosophy

I knew I would go to college. College guaranteed I would have a better job and life than my parents. I always did my best. My educational “philosophy” was to work hard, read the assignments, memorize, follow directives, and meet each deadline. I never dropped a course. I turned in assignments on time. I rarely skipped class. I waited tables. I studied. I made the Dean’s and President’s Honors Lists. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in four years. I was a good college student.

I did college “right.” But I missed out.

As the first person in my family to take a traditional route to a four-year university immediately after high school, it never occurred to me (nor was I told) that during my undergraduate experience I should be challenged by new ideas, that I could question what I was being told, or that I would benefit from examining new concepts from a variety of perspectives. I focused on my classes, but not what I was learning. I did not get involved in extracurricular activities nor did I connect deeply with any student organizations. It was not evident to me that there was value in being involved in anything outside the classroom. I recall going to see a professor only once during office hours. My role as a resident assistant was motivated by the benefit of free housing and having a room to myself. I saw an advisor one time, never took advantage of any academic support services, and did not utilize career counseling. My bachelor’s degree in business administration was chosen by default, not by design.

I know now that being a good college student is not the same as having a fulfilling collegiate experience. While completing my degree was my responsibility, as an undergraduate I did not comprehend that the institution offered more. The institution did not fail me. I just did not know better. I believed the relationship was one-sided… that college was mine to do on my own.

As a college administrator, my educational philosophy is that we must create a culture of connection inside and outside the classroom. As a dynamic composition of professors, advisors, tutors, administrators, custodians, and many other roles, we must connect with each other, and we must connect with our students. Yes, students must take responsibility for their own learning. They must work hard, turn in assignments, study, and come to class. But we must help students see that “doing college right” means more than being a good college student. By connecting we help students see that they are not alone in their collegiate experience. When we all connect, we all learn. When we connect, our students have a greater opportunity to experience all college is meant to be.

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