by Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE My client, Susan, was steaming. And rightly so. Susan’s department director went over her head and told Susan’s failing students that she (the director) would change their course grade if they passed the HESI, a standardized test. True story. I’ve heard this story, or a version of it, more times than I can count. And I too am furious. How have we come to this in higher education? As a society, we have evolved into “trophyizing” (yes, I made that word up) children for simply trying, for showing up, for giving their all. And sometimes they don’t even have to show up or give their all yet still receive a trophy. Just as distributing trophies to undeserving children, the practice of passing students when their grades suggest otherwise serves no one. It’s unethical in fact. Why? Because it teaches nothing. Except perhaps, “If you whine loudly enough, you can get your way.” The official term for this is “failing to fail.” While Susan’s story may be infuriating, administrators are not alone in the practice of failing to fail. Faculty have cited knowing the student’s name, giving the benefit of the doubt, fearing the student would be held back or removed from their course of […]
Kelly P. Beischel Ph.D., RN, CNE My husband and I saw Garth Brooks in concert this past Sunday night. I don’t typically stay out late on Sunday nights as the price to be paid on Monday is too steep. But for Garth Brooks … I made an exception. What a performance! I love his music and know nearly all of his songs by heart. The lyrics and accompanying music are catchy thus memorable. But do you know what I love most about him? His energy. His enthusiasm. His passion for his art. And from what my son told me after meeting Garth personally, Garth is an unbelievably kind person. Refreshing to hear, right? Even if you aren’t a fan, you have to agree that he has something special going on. I mean. Come on. Garth goes on a world tour after being absent from the music industry for nearly 16 years. And every one of his concerts sells out within minutes of the shopping cart opening. During the concert, I couldn’t help but note that when we were all clapping, screaming, and singing with Garth, he responded with over-the-top expressions of gratitude and joy. Garth’s gratitude and joy generated, even more, engagement and enthusiasm from his fans. And […]
Kelly P. Beischel PhD, RN, CNE I recently had breakfast with the associate dean of a local college who I’ll call Thea. We met to discuss faculty development opportunities and how faculty development changes student outcomes. You know me. I was giddy with excitement to talk about these passions of mine. As we talked, Thea pulled out her journal to take notes. And we discovered that she and I use the same planner/journal. I can only imagine what the waitress thought when we geeked out about best systems and strategies for using our planners and journals. For me? Heaven on earth! I love the systematic rhythm of using planners and journals. And then something AMAZING happened. Thea told me that her faculty expressed, during HER performance evaluation, that she needed to provide them with increased timely communication. And what was her response to their feedback? She went about developing a system to do just that, to improve her communication in a timely manner. Hence, the planner and journal. Why is this amazing? Her faculty were given voice. How many times have you been given the opportunity to provide feedback on your administrator’s performance? Yep. That’s what I thought. Very few times, right? But, Thea’s faculty were given voice, the chance to […]
By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE Have you seen the Broadway show Kinky Boots? There are many great lines in the show. But, one of my favorite lines reminds me of what I believe all college students ask themselves when they’re sitting in our classrooms. WIIFM? The shop owner is excitedly explaining his ideas about expanding his shoe shop to Kinky. And a bored Kinky asks the owner, “Are you going to get to the part about where it concerns me?” In other words, Kinky’s asking, “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) meaning, “How is this relevant to what I want? I’m curious. How often do we educators charge into our classrooms and similar to the shop owner splatter our students with content before answering the WIIFM question? I admit that I’ve done it. Typically, it’s because I’ve had “so much material to cover” that I’ve lost myself in trying to get to it. How do we know when students DO NOT perceive the material as being relevant to them? Eyes are glazing over. Cell phones are in use. Social media posts are rampant In other words, we have a classroom full of inattentive students. How do we get into this spot? We have agendas, objectives, and a curriculum to satisfy. That’s naturally where our thoughts […]
by Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE I remember the second time I debriefed graded tests like it was yesterday. A student mob broke out. I was squeaky green new to teaching and erroneously thought I was well prepared. I distributed the tests and individual test result forms and asked students if they had questions. We were about halfway through the test and 15 minutes in, when a student disputed a test item answer. I stood my ground and repeated my rationale for the answer. She indignantly voiced her opinion about my rationale. Then much to my dismay, others joined her parade of indignation. The noise level of the class escalated to a disturbing level. The only mentoring I ever received on this topic was to forgo debriefing tests in class. My response? I calmly instructed the students to return their tests. I packed up my belongings (cursing myself inwardly for bringing so many items to class). I told the class of students, “I don’t appreciate your unprofessional behavior. And I’m not obligated to put up with it” And I left. (Yes, kinda like, “I’m taking my ball and going home.”) I’m still trying to decide whose behavior was more unprofessional – theirs or mine. 🙂 I went to my office baffled. […]
Waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential for success, whereas cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative, and productive, which drives performance upward.
~Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage