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Friday, June 19 • 10:45am - 11:15am
CON12.09 - Developing collaborative teaching and learning initiatives in support of diversity and inclusive practices in higher education

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The Teaching and Learning Framework at Memorial University emphasizes work that is engaging, supportive, inclusive, transformative, and outcomes-oriented for both educators and learners. The goal was to develop initiatives to respond to the specific needs of identified groups of non-traditional learners: 1) academically vulnerable first year students; 2) students with individual learning needs associated with disorders and/or mental health issues; 3) international students and those from non-western cultures. The challenges faced by non-traditional students have received considerable attention in the literature (Gardner & Holley, 2011; Offerman, 2011; Rendon, Jalomo, & Nora, 2000). Research has shown that non-traditional students have a higher rate of attrition than traditional students (Bean & Metzner, 1985). These students face the challenge of finding a balance between their academic and external commitments that allows for them to sustain a sufficient level of engagement. It has been found that the most important variables in the retention of non-traditional students are an increased use of learning support services and higher levels of perceived social integration (Gilardi & Guglielmetti, 2011). This presentation will act as a guide through the process of developing initiatives that embrace learner diversity and engage attendees in exploring methods of overcoming challenges. The focus of this session will be on effective practice, and will be of particular interest to university administrators and educators wishing to implement similar initiatives on their campuses. An overview of the research conducted to develop these initiatives will be followed by an open discussion where the sharing of research, initiatives, and best practices for the enhancement of teaching and learning is welcomed.


Bean, J.P., & Metzner, B.S. (1985). A conceptual model of nontraditional undergraduate student attrition. Review of Educational Research, 55(4), 485-540. 

Gardner, S.K., & Holley, K. (2011). “Those invisible barriers are real”: The progression of first-generation students through doctoral education. Equity and Excellence in Education, 44, 77-92. 

Gilardi, S., & Guglielmetti, C. (2011). University life of non-traditional students: Engagement styles and impact on attrition. The Journal of Higher Education, 82(1), 33-53.

Offerman, M. (2011). Profile of the nontraditional doctoral degree student. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 129, 121-130. 

Rendon, L.I., Jalomo, R.E., & Nora, A. (2000). Theoretical considerations in the study of minority student retention in higher education. In J.M. Braxton (Ed.), Reworking the student departure puzzle (pp.127-156). Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

Friday June 19, 2015 10:45am - 11:15am PDT
Salon 2

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