Effective Teaching Practices for Addressing Diverse Students’ Needs for Academic Success in Universities
Students from diverse racial, ethnic, language, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds face multiple challenges upon matriculation at institutions of higher education. One challenge is a lack of limited economic resources, forcing students to balance school with work obligations and time-management. Additionally, because of systematic inequalities in public education, diverse students are likely to attend underperforming schools and may be relatively unprepared academically for the rigors of college/university coursework. As a result, students who struggle in their educational experience may lack the confidence to seek help or guidance in this new culture of academia. Apart from having reduced academic skills, diverse students often deal with the cultural struggles of underrepresentation on college/university campuses or as a first generation student unfamiliar with the culture of higher education. These students may also struggle with essential academic skills such as problem-solving, self-advocacy and critical thinking skills across courses within the curriculum. Due to these aforementioned factors, students may suffer from lower grade point averages, lower levels of academic motivation, and a lack of self-confidence, resulting in lower retention rates. Increasingly, faculty are not prepared to meet the new challenges of teaching and retaining diverse students’ to ensure their academic success. According to Yuan (2017) there is a current “teaching gap” between diverse students’ learning needs and how educators respond to those needs, and this gap can be addressed through effective teaching and mentorship practices. Given the prevalent barriers faced by diverse students or first generation students, this special issue will enable educators to contribute effective teaching practices, teaching experiences, or interventions that address diverse student issues in education. We invite papers that contribute to building diverse students’ problem solving, self-advocacy, self-efficacy, critical thinking, and academic abilities to support students as they navigate institutions of higher education.