What would I change in higher education? This is a tough question since we can hypothetically only change one thing. I think I would change the learning environment. I would move more toward student-centered learning, active learning, and/ or problem based learning. The University of Virginia medical school has taken this type of approach with their students. You can read more about their teaching philosophy here: http://uvamagazine.org/features/article/adjusting_the_prescription/#.Up9F40KWydw.
As I think about my past two years here and all the classes I have taken, I almost regret all the time I’ve spent on projects and papers that really didn’t lead to anything more than a grade at the end of the term. I would have liked for the projects and papers to have been applied somehow to a larger context, such as a service learning project that would benefit an organization in the community. Or, work that could result in a manuscript or part of my dissertation. I’ve had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in a class that used service learning and also in a large lecture class. From my perspective, the students involved in service learning grew more from this experience and I’m not sure how much of the information from the large lecture class will be retained after students move on. This type of change may not work for everyone, but I believe it would help with student engagement and satisfaction.