To the Editor: BGSU should listen more to average students
Written by Greg Predmore   
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 08:45
Periodically the BGSU Administration asks for ways to retain students. I do not have a degree qualifying me to be a paid consultant, but I have experience from working over 30 years "in the trenches" with students. Here are a few suggestions from a 1978 BGSU graduate, a BGSU retiree, and the parent of two students who the university did not retain:
1. Offer the classes students need to graduate "on time". Somewhere there is a list how many students are enrolled. Somewhere there is a list of which students have declared a major, and in what field of study. It shouldn't be terribly difficult in this computer age to get an educated guess as to how many sections of any given required class will be needed each semester and have these classes available.
2. No matter how intelligent an instructor is, and no matter how well they can pass a reading and writing English exam, they ought to be able to speak and understand English as spoken by the average American. It is difficult to impart knowledge to students who are paying to be educated when there is a language barrier. Students choosing to study abroad can expect to have some language difficulties, but students choosing to attend classes in northwest Ohio should be able to understand their instructors.
3. No matter how intelligent an instructor is, s/he ought to have had at least one class in teaching such as is required of all education majors. Yes, this is college, but survey classes and general education classes ought not to be instructed as if the students already have a master's degree understanding of the material.
I believe that acting upon these suggestions would go a long way toward retaining students, but I have one more very radical idea for administrators who do not already do this: Talk to the students - not just the leaders of student organizations, but the general population. Walk into a cafeteria unannounced, sit down at a table, introduce yourself and talk to them. Go out into the green spaces as it warms up and talk to them. Ask them for ideas. Ask them how easy or difficult it is to get the classes they need to graduate in a timely manner.
Communication is a wonderful tool, or it can be when one talks and listens.
Greg Predmore
Bowling Green

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