About the Editors:
Eric Malm, an Associate Professor of Economics and Business Management at Cabrini University in Radnor, PA, provides the framework for understanding the New Majority as a specific group of learners. He has developed experiential hybrid classes, started his own marketing companies, and has created policies and led training sessions on the role of technology in teaching and learning. Here, he outlines the demographic and traces the characteristics and needs of New Majority learners to open the way for exploring other issues addressed in this volume.
Marguerite Weber is president of Higher Learning Design, a consulting firm that helps colleges and universities improve retention-centered practices across the student life cycle for diverse cohorts of students. She has focused the majority of her professional career on both the learning needs of adult students and on designing appropriately flexible learning environments in and out of the classroom. She has served as the Vice President for Adult and Professional Programs at Cabrini University, been an Academic Transformation Fellow for the University System of Maryland, and has held teaching and administrative positions in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. Her retention model, Fit/Fear/Focus, has informed first year and bridge program design as a way to engage students to persist as well as a vision for organizing the higher education infrastructures to support diverse learners as they strive to achieve success. Here, she outlines academic and administrative redesign processes to improve effectiveness and sustainability.
About the Contributors:
William Egan is an instructional designer for Penn State University’s World Campus, where he specializes in designing and developing effective instruction for online and hybrid learning environments for a variety of graduate and undergraduate disciplines. Since 1998, the World campus has offered unique value for adult learners, members of the military, and corporations seeking opportunities to increase workforce training and development. But the flexibility of online learning makes it an increasingly attractive option for students in the New Majority as well. In his essay, he offers best practices for effective program design and decision-making for faculty, IT professionals, instructional designers, and administrators that will enable them to create programs and courses that are appropriately structured and sequenced, clearly communicated, and accessible to a variety of users with differing learning needs.
Patricia Griffin is the Director of Adult Programs at Cabrini University in Radnor, PA. Drawing from her previous work at Boston College and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, Griffin examines from practitioner –theorist perspective what it means for institutions to be student-centered, for faculty to be adaptive in their pedagogy, and how curricular innovation may influence students’ perceptions of their abilities to persist to degree completion.
Beth Rubin is the Dean of Adult and Online Education at Campbell University. After many years as a traditional academic, Dr. Rubin moved into academic administration in adult and online-serving institutions, working in both for-profit and non-profit arenas. She has conducted research on higher educational systems and structures, the effects of learning management systems, the Community of Inquiry, and academic integrity. As Dean of AEO, Dr. Rubin leads efforts to enhance learning and support for adult and remote students, overseeing multiple physical locations as well as online offerings. She collaborates with others to develop new undergraduate and graduate programs, and oversees all aspects of instructional design, course development, instruction, student support, marketing and back-end operations.
Beverly Schneller, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs at Belmont University in Nashville, TN is also a Teagle Assessment Scholar with the Center of Inquiry at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. In addition to writing and publishing on literary topics and assessment of student learning, she is a consultant to colleges and universities on topics ranging from writing across the curriculum design and assessment to developing programs and curricula to enhance diversity.
Ayisha Sereni provides the voice of a New Majority learner and a success story in her journey from Montgomery County Community College, to Drexel University in Pennsylvania, to her MBA at the University of Scranton. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Eastern University in Organizational Leadership. Her essay focuses on her diverse experiences as a student and now as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, PA, with a special emphasis on what did and did not work for her as she transitioned from being a student to being an academic leader.
Paul Walsh, USMx Project Director, University System of Maryland, has been engaged in teaching with technology and in faculty professional development as an instructional designer since 1987. In this essay, he takes a closer look at what it means to say students, and particularly New Majority students, are digital natives and how that translates into the higher education environment of today.