How to Engage College Students

Two dozen tips for engaging college students.


I was thinking about my promise to help you engage their students. It is right there under the “Look familiar?” picture on the left sidebar. I did a self-assessment by looking through what the 88 articles I have posted as of this date to see how well I have addressed this issue. I identified 24 articles that I have pulled together for you. Here are my first 12 tips for engaging college students:

  1. Before you teach your first class, know what students look for in a good instructor. For more information on this topic, click here.
  2. Work on your image. Think about how your students perceive you. You may believe you are the quintessential college instructor while some of your students perceive you as a three-headed ogre. If some students are not participating in class, could it be because they really, I mean really, dislike you? For more information on this topic, click here.
  3. The first day of class is important. It can set the tone for the entire term. Do it right, and make a good first impression. For more information on this topic, click here.
  4. Establish rapport with your students. For more information on this topic, click here.
  5. Get them to like you, and they will overlook some of your shortcomings. For more information on this topic, click here.
  6. Come to each class prepared to teach. Don’t fumble with your notes. Don’t jump from one topic to another and back again. If you appear disorganized you will turn off your students. For more information on this topic, click here.
  7. Seek student feedback using techniques like the 1-minute paper. For more information on this topic, click here.
  8. Encourage class participation, but make sure your students understand what you are looking for. For more information on this topic, click here.
  9. Get them to talk. Employ techniques to get them to speak up in class. For more information on this topic, click here.
  10. Apply Steven Covey’s 5th Habit, and be sure you understand your students. For more information on this topic, click here.
  11. Ask good questions, ones that assess your students’ learning, engage them in dialog and create a rich learning environment. For more information on this topic, click here.
  12. Students may not participate in class because they are not good thinkers. Help your students think. For more information on this topic, click here.
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    Check out my second article in this 2-part series for my other twelve pieces of advice,

    © 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

    October 11, 2010


     


     

     

About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC).

My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students.

After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.


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