SEAHO Report - Spring 2019 - 25

SEAHO Feature Articles

If You Build It, They Will Come:
Becoming Student Ready Colleges
Dr. Zduy Chu, Valdosta State University
Our educational system is largely impacted by the educational philosophy of its leaders. These leaders can be
either the individuals that society will see as the dominant influencer or the individuals who quietly lead in
the background. A person's educational philosophy can be closely tied to their value system, life experiences,
interactions, or even living environment, and in doing so can increase their passion towards particular nuances
(Cohen, 1999). As such, my philosophy of education is rooted in my value around access to schools
and resources, opportunity for growth and learning, relevance of services available, and intentionality of
relationships. In short - If you build it, they will come. With this philosophy, I believe that every student has
an equal chance of being successful, but in order to do so, the educational system in which they reside must
strategically set themselves up to maximize their resources. They must understand that you do not have to cater
to every student's every need, but you must at least acknowledge that a need is there. We have heard the old
adage that students need to be college ready, but are colleges student ready?
So who are the players involved in making sure that every student has the opportunity to be successful within
the educational system? And what needs to change? The answer simply could be everyone and everything,
but more specifically: students, teachers, administrators, support staff, the curriculum, families, and even the
community. Education, in any setting, is a means to prepare individuals to be successful in life. This is the life
that they are given, and more importantly, the life that they choose to have. Education can provide information,
knowledge, and skillsets to an individual so that they can make the most well-informed decisions when
challenged with a choice. It also prepares these individuals for our changing society, to be able to adapt when
needed, and progress in life as they see fit for themselves and their families.
Schools are important for our society. When I think of the word society, I think of a "whole picture", one
that is a conglomerate of all interchangeable parts. You can take one system that is not working so well and
try to replace it with a top-performing system, but you still have to put the other system somewhere. We
need to think of society in its entirety in order to comprehend the role that schools play. Schools provide an
infrastructure for competency building, relationship building, skill building, interpersonal interaction, and even
safe havens. They are no longer just for learning. Many of the life skills necessary to successfully navigate
through society are acquired in schools, and so its role and importance within society is one that cannot
be replaced. But what of the low performing or top performing schools, how can we assure that all of our
educational systems are serving our students well? The key is not in being equal, but more so equitable. Many
schools can do this by aligning the curriculum to meet the needs of their students, creating safe spaces within
the schools and community, having quality instructors and leaders, being accessible, malleable, innovative,
creative, adaptable, using assessments, collecting data, and creating a culture and climate that works for your
specific population. I have seen many institutions fail at certain programs and initiatives because of their desire
to follow current trends without the proper resources. You have to find what works for you, and how to utilize
what and who you have to strategically set the system up for success.
The student is the one person in the educational system who I believe to be the masters of their own fate. They
are the ones that will dictate whether they will be successful or unsuccessful. Students are an important piece
to the entire education system, we shift, change, mold our instruction and resources to fit students' needs.
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SEAHO Report Spring 2019



SEAHO Report - Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SEAHO Report - Spring 2019

Contents
SEAHO Report - Spring 2019 - Cover1
SEAHO Report - Spring 2019 - Contents
SEAHO Report - Spring 2019 - 3
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