Board Buzzwords - Student Focused


refers to a professional relationship of advising or training someone, often a younger person. Mentoring is proven to have a positive impact on students’ career readiness and general student progress and success. Companies like AT&T have set up programs to keep students engaged in education. Some colleges set up mentors with students to provide career guidance. There are different types of mentoring, traditional one-on-one with a mentor and mentee, distance mentoring, or group mentoring.

middle college

Dual enrollment programs which allow qualified high school students to work toward a diploma and a certificate or associate degree, usually with a corporate sponsor.

mindful technology


Mindfulness and technology together are a movement in research and design that encourages the user to become aware of the present moment, rather than losing oneself in a technological device. Nearly everyone loves technology, but also wants to escape from its grips from time to time. This field encompasses multidisciplinary participation between design, psychology, computer science, and religion. 

multiple intelligences

was developed by Howard Gardner of Harvard whose theories in cognitive research supports that students learn, process, and interpret information differently and it argues that one’s capacity to learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways. Currently, there are seven learning styles.

multiple measures

is the use of multiple indicators and sources of evidence of student learning. Many colleges ae using various indicators of learning and achievement such as student interviews, standardized tests, field work, projects, teacher recommendations, etc. rather than simply standardized tests alone as indicators of student progress or ability to take college-level coursework. 

OPM (online program managers)

OPMs are being hired by some colleges to aid in the transition to online courses due to the quick pivot to remote learning needed during the pandemic.


refer to guided pathways or to the guided pathways approach that promotes access to completion.

reverse transfer

awarding or earning an associate’s degree from the college to which a student transferred after completion or awarding of a baccalaureate degree.  The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has produced a comprehensive study entitled Reverse Transfer: A National View of Student Mobility from Four-year to Two-Year Institutions July 2012.  The 13 state colleges in Wisconsin are implementing an automated system (Reverse Transfer automated data exchange platform through the National Student Clearinghouse) through partnership with the state university.  Colleges’ completion rates get a boost when students do reverse transfer.

service learning

is learning that provides students opportunities to engage in practical service activities in the community including volunteering. Often service learning components are part of a course curriculum and offer students practical, hands-on training related to the coursework.


In addition to a feathery ice crystal or flake of snow, snowflake refers to an overly sensitive or easily offended person who feels entitled to special treatment because of their unique characteristics. According to the OED, life for them should come with trigger warnings and safe spaces. A snowflake often refers to millennial students who are considered by some to be the stressed-out generation ruined by helicopter parents, smartphones, and an outrageous sense of entitlement. National studies have depicted a growing rate of depression (63%) and suicidal thoughts (47%) among young adults (18-25).

student engagement

student willingness to participate in college activities, attend class, and get involved (engaged) in their learning.  As an accountability measure, many institutions use the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) to assess services and programs for students.

student success courses

are courses offered usually to new freshmen, transfer, developmental or first- generation students to learn about navigating through college. These courses are of various lengths and aim to assist students with helpful practical information about all aspects of the college experience to help them navigate through the admission, course selection and advisement processes. Skills taught are usually time management, study skills, and often a tour of important offices and buildings like the library on campus. Research has shown many of these courses help students develop their long-term goals for completing their course of study.

study abroad

learning opportunities for students who wish to study outside of the United States. Many high schools and colleges offer a variety of travel learning opportunities for students with variation in the length of time, credit or noncredit, sponsorship, etc.



Strong reaction against the major technology companies (“Big Tech”) as a result of concerns about their power, users’ privacy, the possibility of political manipulation, etc. Since the spread of COVID-19, concern about the perils of smartphone surveillance have changed into using smartphone location data to document levels of social distancing by regions.

underrepresented students

refers to students often not well represented on college campuses: low-income, first-generation, LGBT+ and minority students. These underrepresented groups face unique challenges in  both applying to and attending college including harassment and discrimination. The Century Foundation suggests 9 Ways Colleges Should Support Underrepresented Students.

underserved students

refers to students who do not receive equitable resources as other students, including low-income, underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities and first generation students who have historically been outside mainstream higher education. Minority: race/ethnicity is African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander; Low income: combined parental income is less than or equal to $36,000; and First generation in college: highest parental education level is high school diploma or less (ACT article). Used interchangeably with underrepresented.)

unit record system

refers to the system used to provide information for prospective student and families about employment outcomes, particularly about jobs and earnings of students in specific majors at specific institutions.