Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students’ intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans. Some examples: Freshman seminars on important topics, taught by senior faculty members, establish an early connection between students and faculty in many colleges and universities.
In the Saint Joseph’s College core curriculum, faculty members who lead discussion groups in courses outside their fields of specialization model for students what it means to be a learner. In the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, three out of four undergraduates have joined three-quarters of the faculty as junior research colleagues in recent years. At Sinclair Community College, students in the “College Without Walls” program have pursued studies through learning contracts. Each student has created a “resource group,’ which includes a faculty member, a student peer, and two “community resource” faculty members. This group then provides support and assures quality.