How can I possibly balance it all?
This is the question on the minds of many adult students looking to earn a college degree. Between family commitments, work schedules, long commutes and, well, just everyday life, fitting in classroom assignments and readings may seem like the ultimate juggling act.
Historically, student discipline and academic rigor have been the cornerstones of a college education — aspects that have sometimes made achieving a university degree more challenging for students who have work, family or life commitments outside of the classroom.
However, like many aspects of our post-COVID-19 society, education evolves. For instance, today’s university students are more likely to experience instances of empathy and flexibility in the classroom that prior generations did not see. These changes have not been made to make classes easier, notes UOPX Vice Provost Marc Booker, PhD, but rather because our understanding of teaching and learning has evolved. For example, research demonstrates that empathetic thinking may increase classroom creativity.
But how can universities find the balance between exercising empathy and ensuring academic rigor? We spoke to Booker and Kristen McQuinn, UOPX faculty development chair and author of the recent white paper “Empathy Is the Gateway to Academic Rigor” to find out.