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The push to update—or sweep aside—liberal arts and humanities disciplines in favor of professional programs predates the current COVID crises. But Denison University intentionally chose not to start a traditional professional major or insert business classes—such as marketing or supply chain logistics—into our curriculum. Instead, we created something entirely new: a global commerce major that would not only preserve the liberal arts at Denison but strengthen them.

In my first semester as a college writing instructor, I could tell from the general lack of interest from my students that I was failing to reach them. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel inspired me to try a more comedic tack in my teaching. Amazingly, the atmosphere in all of my classes went from stale silence during the first couple of weeks to joyous engagement by the end of the sixteen-week semester.

College students, many of whom are learning online during the pandemic (perhaps for the first time) and face looming deadlines, are clearly under tremendous pressure. Some turn to online tools that promise quick fixes but are viewed by educators as a form of academic misconduct. Solving these challenges requires a multifaceted focus on behavior, detection, deterrence, and instructional support.

If universities are to attract more students from ever-shrinking applicant pools, innovations in teaching and learning must be scaled up. We studied a number of large universities across the country that introduced pedagogies and technologies that benefit thousands of students. How did they successfully scale up these pedagogical innovations, which often started small, to reach students across their institutions?

Since transfer students enroll at different points in their academic career and have had various educational and life experiences, their needs also vary. Many faculty and staff do not know how transfer-in ready their four-year college or university really is. How easy is it for a prospective student to actually transfer in? And what resources are available?

At many colleges, advising is siloed outside the faculty through staff advisors, career center advisors, and outsourced coaches. Meanwhile, intellectual mentorship is often separated from advising, left to faculty generosity or chance. This segmented approach is a missed opportunity for liberal arts colleges to deliver on one of their most compelling features: an integrated student experience.

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