What higher ed educators and leaders need to know about how student identities and the traumas they’ve experienced in life relate to current challenges.
One sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro takes the time to ask all students why they “took her class and how their life experiences shaped the way they would interact with the class,” wrote one student respondent to the January Student Voice survey from Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse, sponsored by Kaplan. Another respondent, a student at Haverford College, praised her premajor adviser for understanding “how much my Hispanic heritage affects my school experience.” The adviser has connected this student to others going through similar struggles.
On the flip side of supportive, one public university student in Florida wrote that after experiencing some recent health issues, plus the loss of three family members, completing assignments was difficult and she alerted her professors to the situation. “Out of the seven professors I had, only one was understanding and accommodated for my issues. It was very disheartening for me and left me in a severe depression and [with] a large mess to clean up,” the student wrote.
Faculty members and other student-facing campus employees can often identity the challenges students are facing but typically don’t know what exactly students are going through and what factors may be making them more likely to struggle. In the Student Voice survey of 2,003 college undergraduates, only 28 percent identifying issues such as time management, anxiety, financial insecurity and not fitting in say they have shared their struggles with professors or other professionals at their institutions.
So when developing, strengthening or promoting available campus supports, it helps for higher ed professionals to know what groups of students are most likely to be experiencing specific types of challenges. The following infographic offers insights on who is dealing with what, as well as students’ stories about individuals supporting them.
Student Voice explores higher education from the perspective of students, providing unique insights on their attitudes and opinions. Kaplan provides funding and insights to support Inside Higher Ed’s coverage of student polling data from College Pulse. Inside Higher Ed maintains editorial independence and full discretion over its coverage.