posted on November 05, 2012 11:45
Book by Michael Harris & Roxanne Cullen
Review by Kiana Shiroma
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
As a leader in higher education, how does one establish a campus that fosters student learning? Harris and Cullen answer this question as faculty-turned-administrators in Leading the learner-centered campus. They found that the strategies that have been proven useful in creating a learner-centered classroom are also applicable campus-wide. There are two main stages that a leader must progress through.
The first step is to become a learner-centered leader by abandoning the instructional paradigm when viewing the academic world. The instructional paradigm “fosters divisiveness among all constituents but most negatively between administration and faculty” and “functions under the assumption that control is necessary” (p. 37). Instead, one must engage in the learner-centered paradigm, which means “creating community through sharing power and control” (p. 66).
The next step is actually advancing one’s learner-centered agenda. Harris and Cullen provide wonderful and practical applications on how to get everyone else on the learner-centered bandwagon. Four strategies are outlined, all of which focus on faculty development. The most helpful of which was the Syllabus Assessment Matrix, which clearly outlines whether a syllabus was more instructional or learner-centered. This matrix can also be applied to the student-learning outcome goals of an academic advising department. Another method of establishing a learner-centered campus is possibly meeting with students themselves, possibly in focus groups, to find out what practices is most helpful in the learning process.
This straightforward and easy-to-read book is highly recommended for academic advisors who want to focus on achieving their student learning outcomes but are not exactly sure where to start. Leading the learner-centered campus reminds leaders in higher education what their purpose is, which is to support the learning of students.
Leading the learner-centered campus: An administrator’s framework for improving student learning outcomes, (2010), Book by Michael Harris & Roxanne Cullen. Review by Kiana Shiroma. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 224 pp. Price $40.00. ISBN # 978-0-470-40298-6