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Annual Perspectives on Learning and Understanding Students (A PLUS) Conference

May 20, 2014
This year’s A PLUS Conference focused on creating actionable programmatic initiatives designed to transform Merrimack College’s students of today into the leaders of the future.  The conference began with a presentation by Dr. Michael Stroud, a CETL Fellow and Professor of Psychology, on how the students of today interact with technology in their everyday lives.  

Stroud described current 18-22 year olds as technology immersed, but perhaps not as technology savvy as one might expect.  Stroud’s presentation was followed by a session led by Dr. Russell Mayer, VP for Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment, which focused on attitudes and behaviors in the traditional college aged population.  Mayer discussed the career orientation of today’s college students, the challenges in adjusting to college they face and their social connectedness.

The highlight of the day was the time that Merrimack faculty spent with Dr. John Gardner, founder and president of the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.  Gardner emphasized the importance taking a comprehensive approach to educating students in their first year of college, a critical transitional moment in their lives.  Dr. Gardner helped the faculty reflect on the strengths and areas for improvement in the Merrimack experience and worked with the faculty to develop particular areas in which to focus their efforts going forward aligned with research and best practices in the field.  In general, the conference was a great success in combining research and practice to advance the educational mission of Merrimack College.  Materials presented at the conferences are available below:

John Gardner’s Presentation on Student Transformation

Michael Stroud’s Presentation on the Technology Profile of the Class of 2018

Russell Mayer’s Presentation on Who are Our Students?


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