What makes a university authentically "student centered"? Does student centeredness suggest a certain approach to advising and instruction, a specific type of relationship between students and other groups on campus, or something else entirely? Research demonstrates that there are many possible definitions and manifestations of student centeredness in higher education today. This guide provides resources to explore several different theoretical and practical approaches to the topic, so everyone — faculty, staff, and students — can decide how to make student centeredness work for their unique goals and contexts.
At the 2018 Student Success Conference, the Carolina community is investigating the relationship between student centeredness and student success by considering the following questions:
Conference participants can use the resources provided in this guide to inform their discussions of these questions, and also to follow up on the conference by researching topics of interest and integrating theory into their everyday practice as university faculty, staff, or students.
The keynote for the 2018 Student Success Conference addresses a question posed by Australian researcher, college director, and professor Janet Taylor in her article for the The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education. As you read Taylor's piece, consider the many possible definitions and applications of "student-centredness," as well as the strengths and limitations of a student-centered approach.
"It is essential that students and their views continue to be considered, but using student-centred as a catch-all for a diverse range of practices may not be enough to support learning of diverse students. This paper has presented an argument not against the spirit of student-centred but for a reconsideration and clarification of the term and its use. The question is what form should this clarification take?" (44).