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.

I’m generally wary of the open curriculum approach to general education, in which students take any courses they want. Some students may be at a disadvantage when it comes to the curricular and cultural decoding they will have to do. Rather than throw out the idea of an open approach to general education entirely, this article suggests several best practices that may allow for greater inclusion and deeper learning for all students.

The cohort model that we recommend for closing equity gaps and building community works in both online and face-to-face learning environments, in boutique programs and at liberal arts colleges, and even for entire undergraduate populations at large comprehensive universities.