Monday, January 14, 2013

What is student engagement? A Douglas Vice President's take

You're invited to chow down on lasagne (free!) with the President of Douglas College Thursday, Jan. 17 and talk about student engagement! Read on to discover what Blaine Jensen, VP Educational Services at Douglas, thinks about student engagement.

By Blaine Jensen

When I think of engaged students I think of people who perceive themselves as active participants in learning and discovering: they feel emotionally invested in their learning and activities. When someone is actively seeking learning opportunities they are usually excited about their new knowledge, and that shows through meaningful interaction with faculty, staff, friends and peers.

This excitement is not only demonstrated in the classroom and lab but in campus life: student clubs, social events and recreational activities. Sometimes it take a while for a person to find the academic engagement that really turns on the “learning tap.” This is where appropriate campus life engagement can help you explore your options, gain the personal confidence to try new directions and become exposed to new career and academic pathways.

Campus life is more than being social and making personal connections. It opens new windows to pathways not previously considered. As a broadcast student at a small college in southern Alberta I had no idea that educational leadership or higher education was a career path, and that it would be as stimulating and rewarding as the past 30 years have been for me. In my college days I became “engaged” with student clubs and eventually became the president of the Students’ Association. It was through these experiences that I was exposed to an academic pathway and extremely rewarding career that I had no idea existed! For me it has been exciting and personally engaging.

Student engagement is achieved through a variety of means: academic, social and personal. The pathways to engagement lead to excitement, new opportunities and interactions with amazing people. Engagement can make all the difference in the trajectory of your life!

To read more about dinner with the prez this week, and to RSVP, see our earlier blog post.