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Relationship-Rich Education

How Human Connections Drive Success in College

Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert

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A mentor, advisor, or even a friend? Making connections in college makes all the difference.

What single factor makes for an excellent college education? As it turns out, it's pretty simple: human relationships. Decades of research demonstrate the transformative potential and the lasting legacies of a relationship-rich college experience. Critics suggest that to build connections with peers, faculty, staff, and other mentors is expensive and only an option at elite institutions where instructors have the luxury of time with students. But in this revelatory book brimming with the voices of…

A mentor, advisor, or even a friend? Making connections in college makes all the difference.

What single factor makes for an excellent college education? As it turns out, it's pretty simple: human relationships. Decades of research demonstrate the transformative potential and the lasting legacies of a relationship-rich college experience. Critics suggest that to build connections with peers, faculty, staff, and other mentors is expensive and only an option at elite institutions where instructors have the luxury of time with students. But in this revelatory book brimming with the voices of students, faculty, and staff from across the country, Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert argue that relationship-rich environments can and should exist for all students at all types of institutions.

In Relationship-Rich Education, Felten and Lambert demonstrate that for relationships to be central in undergraduate education, colleges and universities do not require immense resources, privileged students, or specially qualified faculty and staff. All students learn best in an environment characterized by high expectation and high support, and all faculty and staff can learn to teach and work in ways that enable relationship-based education. Emphasizing the centrality of the classroom experience to fostering quality relationships, Felten and Lambert focus on students' influence in shaping the learning environment for their peers, as well as the key difference a single, well-timed conversation can make in a student's life. They also stress that relationship-rich education is particularly important for first-generation college students, who bring significant capacities to college but often face long-standing inequities and barriers to attaining their educational aspirations.

Drawing on nearly 400 interviews with students, faculty, and staff at 29 higher education institutions across the country, Relationship-Rich Education provides readers with practical advice on how they can develop and sustain powerful relationship-based learning in their own contexts. Ultimately, the book is an invitation—and a challenge—for faculty, administrators, and student life staff to move relationships from the periphery to the center of undergraduate education.

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Relationship-Rich Education

Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert

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Reviews

Reviews

Full of numerous examples of enacting relationship-rich environments, this book marshals a broad range of evidence to make a coherent argument about the importance of relationships while offering specific ways in which they can be enhanced at an individual, departmental, and institutional level. Relationship-Rich Education will resonate with higher education practitioners.

The content of this impressively researched book has the potential to transform institutional culture. The voices of these students grabbed me in powerful ways, enabling me to understand more deeply the value of rich relationships to undergraduate success across institutional types and student status.

Education luminaries Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert challenge us never to forget that undergraduate education is at heart a relational enterprise. Relationship-Rich Education offers a cogent practitioner's guide to the art of teaching and mentorship—and a stern challenge to institutional leaders to prioritize and celebrate relationship-rich cultures. A game-changer in higher education.

This book takes an innovative approach to student success interventions, focusing on the essential role of relationships in shaping student experience and long-term success. The book includes numerous and detailed examples of how to create relationship-rich environments and incorporates the voices of faculty, staff, administrators, and students to bring its big ideas to life.

At a time of unprecedented transformation, Felten and Lambert demonstrate why the future of higher education must be grounded in the creation of welcoming campus communities that encourage a sense of belonging. They offer a compelling, insightful guide to fostering relationship-rich undergraduate education and fulfilling the burgeoning equity mandate at institutions of all types.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
208
ISBN
9781421439365
Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1. Visions of the Possible
Chapter 2. Why Is This So Hard?
Chapter 3. Making Relationships a Cultural Priority
Chapter 4. Creating Relationship-Rich

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1. Visions of the Possible
Chapter 2. Why Is This So Hard?
Chapter 3. Making Relationships a Cultural Priority
Chapter 4. Creating Relationship-Rich Classrooms
Chapter 5. Rich Relationships Everywhere
Chapter 6. Mentoring Conversations
Conclusion. The Future Is Relationship Rich
Postscript
Notes
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.
Featured Contributor

Leo M. Lambert

Leo M. Lambert is a professor of education and president emeritus of Elon University, where he served as president from 1999 to 2018. Felten and Lambert are coauthors of The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most.