Today, faculty have access to student pictures, pronouns, academic standing, notification that the student has applied for graduation, or even to submit an e-warning if they are not performing well. At Elon University, we thought: Why don’t registrars provide additional information about students to help faculty develop student-centered pedagogy?

Student-centered pedagogy 

To experiment with this idea, Elon University Registrar’s Office created a report for instructors teaching capstone courses in the core curriculum. While capstone courses may vary by institution, most seek to serve as the pinnacle of a program of study, designed to give students experience in the practical applications of their coursework.

At Elon, the capstone is an opportunity for students to integrate and apply what they have learned during their Elon experience. The capstone also challenges students to consider larger themes of the program—ethical reasoning, personal and social responsibility, and global citizenship. The new report illustrated the distribution of completed courses by students enrolled in each capstone, enabling the instructor to further tailor their multidisciplinary approach by knowing the disciplines in which their students excel or may require additional focus.

The new report inspected another factor: common courses completed by students enrolled in a certain capstone. By knowing which classes the students bring (or are missing), the instructor can further tailor his or her multidisciplinary approach by building off of stronger disciplines and providing more focus in weaker areas.

Here’s a sample snippet of the new report emailed to the capstone instructor. In this case, 15 students in the class had previously taken PSY*111.

As one faculty member said, “I was stunned that nearly every student in my class had taken economics during the completion of their core requirements. As a result, I invited an economics professor to join me in a discussion on the impact of tariffs on the global economy.”

About the Author:

Dr. Rodney L. Parks is the registrar, director of Summer College, and director of Winter Term at Elon University where he has served since January 2013. Dr. Parks also serves as an assistant professor in the Human Services Science Department. Parks earned his Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of Georgia and has published numerous research studies and book chapters focusing on the unique populations of students navigating higher education.

Casey Hayes is an assistant registrar for data management and reporting at Elon University, where he has served since 2013. Hayes earned a BS in Computer Science from Elon University. Besides his work on a number of big data initiatives, he serves as team of innovation for Elon’s student system, Ellucian Colleague.


Add your opinion to the discussion.