Have We Lost Faith in Higher Education and Should We?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM


Free Event

The first event of new lecture series “ExpandED: Broadening the Understanding of Today’s Educational Issues,” this interdisciplinary series will feature graduate students from across the country discussing their ongoing research, much of which will be dedicated to improving diversity and equity in education.

Today’s event is “Have We Lost Faith in Higher Education and Should We?” featuring lectures by Matt Motta, from the University of Minnesota and Sabrina Solanki from University of California, Irvine.

Matt Motta’s Talk: Americans’ dislike and distrust of higher education has been on the rise in recent years, according to recent public opinion research. The first proposed lecture aims to provide answers to the following four questions: How many Americans hold negative opinions of colleges and college professors? Why do so many Americans hold these attitudes, today? What are the implications of rising distrust for higher education, politics, and society more broadly? Most importantly, what can we do (educators, students, concerned citizens) to improve public trust in higher education? The audience is expected to gain a better understanding of the scope and potential causes of distrust in higher ed and think critically about how we can take part in positive change.

Sabrina Solanki’s Talk: Low rates of STEM persistence in college have called upon researchers, policymakers, and higher education administrators to consider and evaluate effective, evidence-based solutions. Although an extensive theoretical literature and qualitative evidence points to learning communities as a promising strategy to improve persistence and academic success in college, rigorous quantitative evidence on the impacts of these programs in STEM education is limited. In this lecture, the speaker will discuss the evaluation of a two-year learning communities program for incoming Biological Sciences majors at a large public university in California. Students and community members will learn about ways to successfully promote student academic and social integration to the University and how both components are important in order to foster positive student outcomes, particularly for students least likely to succeed in college.