Education is Complicated

Welcome to my new blog.  In this space I will explore and explain the complexities of supporting a vibrant learning environment that meets the needs of a wonderfully diverse student body. Western Connecticut State University is a public university with a long history of providing students with quality education that supports paths to careers, informed citizenry, and engagement with the “great conversations” that spring from the entire history of teaching and learning.

Like many public universities, we started as a Normal School, preparing future teachers to educate Connecticut citizens. Over the 115 years of our existence, we’ve moved from serving a small number of women, to more than 5,000 students from varied educational and cultural backgrounds, each looking for a path to a bright future.  Our blend of liberal arts and pre-professional programs serve to educate students, not just for a first career, but for a whole life.  Jobs change, interests change, opportunities and life circumstances change, but a strong education that weaves together critical thinking, communication, and cultural knowledge will help all of our graduates embrace change and thrive.

Educating students for productive and rewarding lives is our goal.  Achieving that goal is complicated.

There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to education (or clothing!) Our students don’t all start with the same preparation or assumptions about what education should do for them. We work hard to adjust opportunities and offerings so that they meet the needs of the high school valedictorian, the veteran returning from active duty, the student who may not have thrived in high school, but is now ready to stretch, or the adult ready for an advanced degree, but juggling work and family. We want them all to succeed and continuously ask ourselves the question, “What else can we do to help?”

I look forward to exploring some of the answers to the questions: What else? What next? How can we create a truly responsive learning environment? WCSU aspires to be the very best at meeting the needs of all our students.  This is the story of our efforts.

One of the top priorities in meeting students’ needs includes having outstanding faculty members. Twice a year we showcase the caliber of WCSU faculty and their ongoing research. Won’t you join us for this semester’s reception and panel discussion, Scholars in Action: The Interactive Art & Science of Pedagogy on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Please RSVP to cunninghamj@wcsu.edu. We look forward to seeing you.


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