UTA Students: Who Are They?

UT Arlington’s student population is non-traditional in many ways. Most students enter as transfers, many with 60 or more hours already completed. The average age of students in fall 2010 was 27, and 43 percent were enrolled on a part-time basis. According to the 2008 Student Survey, 69 percent of UT Arlington students hold jobs, with 32 percent working 21 or more hours per week. It should be noted, however, that the cohort of traditional first time freshman is growing. The size of the incoming freshman class has almost doubled since 2000, reaching 2,805 in fall 2010. These students have an average age of 18, almost all attend full-time, and about 53 percent of first-time freshmen live in campus residence halls or apartments.

UT Arlington is one of the most diverse institutions in the nation, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the fifth most ethnically diverse campus among national universities. In fall 2010, the student population was 14.1 percent African American, 16.9 percent Hispanic, 9.1 percent Asian, 0.4 percent Native American and 10 percent International. It is estimated that the Hispanic student population will be UT Arlington’s fastest growing student segment in the coming decades.

What Do University Students Want?

The article, “What Students Want: Characteristics of Effective Teachers from the Students’ Perspective,” discusses the attitudes, behaviors, and values that university students would like to see in their instructors. It discusses and links to a study titled “Students’ Perceptions of Effective Teaching in Higher Education.” Both online and face-to-face students would like their professors and educators to be respectful, knowledgeable, and approachable, among other attributes cited in the article.

From: Ellen Smyth, “What Students Want: Characteristics of Effective Teachers from the Students’ Perspective” Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies, Magna Publications, April 18, 2011.

What Do University Students Want?

UT Arlington students would like for those who teach them to…

  • Come prepared to class, be on time, have A/V ready, doors unlocked
  • Use teaching methods outside of lecture (class discussion, active learning, critical thinking)
  • Use real world examples when teaching the subject matter so that students   can comprehend the material
  • Teach concepts rather than memorization for exams
  • Build relationships with their students
  • Deal with disruptive students
  • Know how to use the technology in the classrooms
  • Teach with enthusiasm and passion about the subject
  • Allow students to bring laptops into class for note taking
  • Help students succeed, especially when students take the initiative
  • Give feedback in a reasonable amount of time (email, graded papers/exams)
  • Learn to use Canvas better
  • Have more interactive classrooms
  • Teach essential material above and beyond the textbooks

Compiled from student responses to the Maverick Opinion Boards at the library mall, Maverick Activities Center, and the University Center mall in 2011.

What’s the Mindset of Today’s Students?

“Teaching the Millennial Generation”: This posting from the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning is a nice summary of a large subset of today’s North American college students.

“When the Class of 2017 arrives on campus this fall, these digital natives will already be well-connected to each other. They are more likely to have borrowed money for college than their Boomer parents were, and while their parents foresee four years of school, the students are pretty sure it will be longer than that. Members of this year’s first year class, most of them born in 1995, will search for the academic majors reported to lead to good-paying jobs, and most of them will take a few courses taught at a distant university by a professor they will never meet.” Read the complete Mindset ListFrom McBride, Tom, and Ron Nief. “2017 List.” Beloit College.

Further info on today’s students can be found in this presentation, “Generational Differences: Advising/Managing Across Generations.” (PowerPoint)

Here are resources to explore the concept of today’s students