Shenandoah ACADEMIC Success & Support

Thoughts from SASS!

It’s no secret that choosing a path for education is one of the most important and challenging issues that many of us face. Students are warned that a successful future requires education beyond high school, but college costs are no longer affordable by many families, and loan debt is crippling students for years. How do we sort through all this dire news? Can we come to some reasonable solutions that allow for successful education, success careers, and freedom from debt?

After serving for many years in higher education, I think the answer to this question is a resounding “Yes, we can.” I would like do dedicate these postings to share my ideas about and experiences in education, and to warmly invite your questions.

First Post

ROI for Education

I have recently read several articles that attempt to discuss the return on investment for a four-year education, these articles focused specifically on degrees from liberal arts colleges. This is a thorny issue for me because I honestly think that it’s hard to quantify this kind of investment because there are so many variables in the question. In any event, the conclusion of these investigations was that over a forty year career span those workers who had a four-year degree from liberal arts programs made higher salaries than those who had degrees from other types of institutions. Given the widespread skepticism for liberal arts education, many people certainly wouldn’t have expected this conclusion. The report goes on to say that immediately after graduation, students who had technical or select professional or vocational degrees made higher salaries, but, over time, the knowledge and skills obtained in pursuit of liberal arts degrees paid off.

Well, really, this information doesn’t surprise me. People who are shopping for education should know that the very skills employers demand: the ability to problem solve; to think independently, critically and analytically; to synthesize information, and to be able to communicate ideas coherently and clearly are all skills that a good general education program develops.

Sadly though, for various reasons, many of our students go to college unprepared to take full advantage of their educational opportunities. As a former professor and academic administrator, I have been disturbed by the number of capable but poorly prepared students who falter in their first weeks on campus.

Many of those problems are avoidable, and I want to help students make the transition to a successful experience in higher education. I have successfully mentored hundreds of students through the experience, and I want to continue to do so.