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Fall 2018

Letter From The Chair


A lively campus discussion has emerged in the wake of the U of I Student Success Conference last May, including a thoughtful inventory of strategies for supporting student success. Over the summer I've spent time reflecting on these strategies, questioning colleagues, and searching for underlying principles.

I've concluded student success begins with genuine belief in the learning potential of each student and is fully realized through a coordinated effort on the part of faculty/staff/student peers to foster a quality learning environment. It is a reciprocal relationship that is the responsibility of multiple parties.

In an engineering context, educational institutions need to help students overcome key risk factors. However, we need not become overly distracted by objectifying each risk factor and trying to separate these from our students.

A more efficient and enduring way to empower the collegiate learner is to focus on developing productive academic behaviors, learning strategies and social skills with a growth mindset. This applies both to general education as well as developing an engineering mindset, including the ability to visualize problems, think analytically, experiment and find solutions.

» Read more of Steve's letter

Steven Beyerlein
Steve Beyerlein, Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering

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