guest speaker

MARIETTA, OHIO —Lead author of the book “Becoming a Student-Ready College,” Dr. Tia Brown McNair, presented a workshop on Building Equitable Pathways at Washington State College of Ohio (WSCO). Sponsored by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), the event attracted guests from Marietta College, Hocking College, and West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

McNair discussed a new perspective on designing and leading student success efforts. She asked the pragmatic question of what colleges and universities do to prepare for the students, rather than what students do to prepare for college. “All students have the capacity to learn and deserve access to high-quality educational experiences,” said Dr. McNair.

This idea of becoming ‘student-ready’ supports students by making sure the education they receive it equitable. Unlike equality, which offers everyone the same thing, equity is about recognizing that everyone starts their college journey at different places. Equitable education, therefore, provides each student with the tools they need to be successful.

Through a discussion of key principles from her book, workshop participants collaborated to identify crucial steps for examining and establishing equity goals to promote student engagement and success, as well as to improve student learning and persistence toward completion.

Dean Hirschi, Professor of Physics at Washington State said he found the workshop motivating. “I’m excited to implement some of Dr. McNair’s ideas in my classroom and look for ways to do more to improve student engagement and their success.”

McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers at Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC. She oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact educational practices, and student success, including AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal series of yearly working conferences. McNair earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and English at James Madison University and holds an M.A. in English from Radford University and a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University.

The workshop concluded with a few words from WSCO President Dr. Vicky Wood who connected many of the college's recent efforts with the principles shared during the workshop. “As you look at the work we are currently doing, the implementation of open educational resources, the revamping and expansion of the Center for Student Success, and our redesign plans for our front-line services, we are moving the needle to help improve equity and student success.”