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Transforming Students

Fulfilling the Promise of Higher Education

Charity Johansson and Peter Felten

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College has the power to transform students into intentional, critical, and engaged people.

The recent trend of trying to measure higher education’s return on investment misses a fundamental point, argue Charity Johansson and Peter Felten. The central purpose of a college or university is to transform the lives of students—not to merely change them or help them mature. This transformation is an ongoing process of intentionally aligning one’s behavior with one’s core sense of personal identity. It is the university’s central role to lead students in this transformation, a process that shapes…

College has the power to transform students into intentional, critical, and engaged people.

The recent trend of trying to measure higher education’s return on investment misses a fundamental point, argue Charity Johansson and Peter Felten. The central purpose of a college or university is to transform the lives of students—not to merely change them or help them mature. This transformation is an ongoing process of intentionally aligning one’s behavior with one’s core sense of personal identity. It is the university’s central role to lead students in this transformation, a process that shapes students into intentional, critical, and engaged individuals.

Recognizing the remarkable influence of the college experience on peoples’ lives, the authors offer a guide to how colleges and universities can effectively lead students through this life-changing process. Drawn from extensive interviews with students and graduates, faculty and staff, Transforming Students gathers diverse stories to show how students experience the transformation process, which rarely follows a neat or linear path. The interviews illustrate central themes from the literature on transformative learning and the undergraduate student experience.

A sequel of sorts to George Keller’s classic Transforming a College—which chronicled Elon University’s metamorphosis from struggling college to a top regional university—Transforming Students addresses the school’s core educational mission: to shape students into engaged adults who embrace learning as a lifelong endeavor. Given this effect, the college experience is much more than preparation for a career. It is preparation for life.

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Transforming Students

Charity Johansson and Peter Felten

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Reviews

We highly recommend Transforming Students. The importance of creating transformational learning experiences in today's university setting that connect with messy real world problems and hopeful opportunities is paramount to achieve the promises of a higher education.

This concise text encourages educators, provides simple entry points into pedagogical theories, distills current student development research into poignant sound bites, and offers conceptual measures for engaging the transformative learning process with one's own students, both inside and outside the classroom.

Johansson and Felten have done something all too rare in the present era. They carefully listened to scores of students, teachers, and parents and faithfully reported what makes for a meaningful, developmentally powerful undergraduate experience. Institutional leaders, faculty, and staff would do well to heed the uncommon wisdom in these pages to intentionally create the conditions that result in the high levels of student accomplishment we all desire.

Clear, well-grounded, inspiring and practical, this book will bestir your imagination, remind you why you became a professor (or administrator, trustee, donor), and deepen your sense of what is at stake in whether and how we understand the purposes, process, and transformative potential of the college years.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
128
ISBN
9781421414379
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. On the Threshold
2. Creating Openness
3. Thinking It Through
4. Moved to Action
5. In the Company of Others
6. From Individuals to Institutions
References
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Peter Felten

Peter Felten is director of the Center for Engaged Learning and a professor of history at Elon University.
Resources

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