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Promoting Reasonable Expectations: Aligning Student and Institutional Views of the College Experience

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7624-8
288 pages
March 2005, Jossey-Bass
Promoting Reasonable Expectations: Aligning Student and Institutional Views of the College Experience (0787976245) cover image


Promoting Reasonable Expectations offers a thorough examination of student expectations of college. The book includes an examination of key issues such as the classroom setting, student services, and campus life. This unique resource contrasts student expectations with their actual experiences and identifies effective strategies for addressing the disjunctions between expectation and reality. Written by leading figures in the field of student affairs and sponsored by NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators), Promoting Reasonable Expectations offers insights about student expectations as defined by their ethnicity, age, gender, transfer student status, and more. Based on solid research, this groundbreaking book explores why it is useful to consider expectations in the context of student relationships and higher educational institutions. The book also:
  • Outlines what colleges have to do to help create student expectations that are reasonable while simultaneously meeting those student expectations that are fair
  • Reviews student expectations regarding the myriad services that support their learning and the college experience
  • Addresses expectations regarding the cost of higher education and explores the expectations of students and their families compared with the reality of college costs
  • Shows the gap between student expectations of degree attainment as compared to the reality
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Table of Contents


The Authors.

1. Introduction (Thomas E. Miller).

2. Why Should We Care About Student Expectations? (Jeffrey A. Howard).

3. What Students Expect from College and What They Get (George D. Kuh, Robert M. Gonyea, and Julie M. Williams).

4. When Expectations and Realities Collide: Environmental Influences on Student Expectations and Student Experiences (Larry Moneta and George D. Kuh).

5. Campus Services: What Do Students Expect? (Frank P. Ardaiolo, Barbara E. Bender, and Gregory Roberts).

6. Student Expectations About Paying for College: Are They Reasonable? (John H. Schuh and Leah Ewing Ross).

7. Student Persistence and Degree Attainment (Thomas E. Miller).

8. Life After College (Susan R. Komives and Elizabeth M. Nuss).

9. The Influence of Selected Students’ Characteristics on Their Expectations of College (Gwendolyn J. Dungy, Patricia A. Rissmeyer, and Gregory Roberts).

10. Institutional Type and Students’ Expectations (Wilma J. Henry, Penelope H. Wills, and Harold L. Nixon).

11. Expectations of Multiple Publics (Barbara E. Bender, John Wesley Lowery, and John H. Schuh).

12. Perspectives from the Field (Thomas E. Miller and Barbara E. Bender).

13. Conclusion (Thomas E. Miller).

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Author Information

Thomas E. Miller is the dean of students at the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida.

Barbara E. Bender is associate dean of the graduate school and director of the Teaching Assistant Project at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

John H. Schuh is distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University.

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"This is a well-researched and useful book on an increasingly important problem…" (Authors Journal Compilation, Winter 2007)

"The book is an important read for the targeted groups." (Journal of Higher Education, Spring 2006)

"If higher education leaders want to understand how best to deal with the growing and complex challenge of meeting students' expectations, of telling them in detail what they need to know about college life, they’d better read this book. It's a thoughtful volume, rich in research on the large gap between what students expect from college and what they get It deserves a wide audience among presidents, faculty leaders, academic administrators, and student affairs officers."
--Joseph Crowley, president emeritus, University of Nevada, Reno

"This comprehensive and insightful book offers many strategies to assist higher education administrators across all types of institutions and is an excellent teaching and learning resource for faculty and graduate students in higher education. Its information and perspectives on diversity issues in higher education illustrate the critical need for our nation’s campuses to become leaders in perpetuating pluralism in American life."
--Portia H. Shields, president, Albany State University, Albany, Georgia

"Does it matter whether students have high or low expectations for college? Does it matter whether student expectations and their actual experiences differ? These and other provocative questions are addressed in this book with helpful results for educators. Presidents, academic officers, faculty members, and student affairs professionals alike can benefit from the insightful explorations of these topics in this long overdue book."
--Don G. Creamer, professor of higher education and student affairs, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

"This work should be a must-read for all beginning college teachers and academic and student affairs administrators; we can't do anything that makes sense to improve student learning without grappling with the issue of expectations."
--John N. Gardner, executive director, Policy Center on the First Year of College

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