Student Expectations and Campus Realities: Facing the Challenge

Student Expectations and Campus Realities: Facing the Challenge

Sheila Self, Kelly Jo Larsen, Allan Ford
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2410-7.ch014
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As today's institutions work to increase enrollment, retention, and persistence, they must also decide how to invest limited institutional dollars and how to adapt to changing student expectations. This chapter provides insight into some of those changing student expectations in regards to the following areas: students as customer, expectations of campus services, campus safety and liability expectations, career expectations, classroom expectations, and the specific expectations of Generation Z students. Armed with this information, leaders in higher educational settings can challenge their institutions to think critically about where and how to invest existing resources. This introductory chapter provides a framework for further exploration into student expectations in regards to student engagement, diversity and inclusion, gaming and eSports, campus safety, and other critical issues in higher education.
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Historical Context

Changing Institutional Types, Changing Expectations

To understand the modern context surrounding student expectations, it is first important to understand how those expectations shifted and evolved throughout the history of American higher education. Today, student expectations of universities, and how institutions respond to those expectations, often exist in a tension. They are simultaneously shaped by the historical framework of higher education and the realities of shifting student populations, institutional boundaries, and political landscapes.

In early American history, there were certain ideals of what constituted college and who college served. Colleges looked a certain way and were attended by certain students: white, male, land owners (Thelin, 2004). This ideal of the American University goes back 350 years and has shaped the way we perceive the idea of college: Georgian brick buildings, around a green of plush grass and a canopy of trees, filled by young, eager students having philosophical debates about the important questions of the time. Indeed, a quick internet image search returns just this picture -- sweeping vistas of grand buildings and manicured lawns.

Since the mid 19th century colleges and universities have emerged to serve the needs of populations excluded from the traditional halls of higher education. Colleges specifically serving women opened by the 1840’s (Thelin, 2004). And, by the early 20th century, Howard University and Fisk University offered liberal arts degrees to black and African American students, while many other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were restricted to elementary or secondary studies and industrial/agricultural education (Thelin, 2004). By the 1920’s community colleges emerged to give educational access to individuals who may not have otherwise been able to attend. This included community colleges dedicated to serving low income student populations (Drury, 2003; Thelin, 2004). The higher education landscape has also been impacted by the rise of the for-profit institution. With the advent of the University of Phoenix, DeVry, Capella, Kaplan, and others, with their aggressive recruitment strategies and large scale marketing, the traditional not-for-profit, long established public and private college and universities have faced increasing competition (Newman, et al., 2004).

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