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HomeNewsHow engaged learning inspires students to reach their full...

How engaged learning inspires students to reach their full potential


Sirena Hargrove-Leak, Professor of Engineering at Elon College, understands firsthand the obstacles college students can encounter in pursuing their training. Raised in rural North Carolina, she attended a highschool with no honors or superior courses, however gained confidence in her talents with the important encouragement of highschool and faculty mentors.

Now, as a professor in Elon College’s engineering program, Hargrove-Leak focuses on serving to her college students attain their potential via a mix of engaged studying strategies and a mixing of science and expertise research with the humanities and humanities.

Under, Hargrove-Leak affords her ideas on how engaged studying can help college students in overcoming self-doubt and constructing the boldness wanted to reach faculty and past – and the way universities can help their school in these efforts.

Q: Are you able to share somewhat bit concerning the struggles you confronted throughout your training journey?

I grew up in a time when there have been doubts that somebody who appears like me might pursue one thing past what was accessible in my dwelling neighborhood. I persistently needed to work arduous to show that I used to be succesful. One in all many examples is a doctoral advisor who instructed me, “some folks right here do not assume you are going to make it.” I used to be decided that they might not have the pleasure of seeing me surrender. Finally, after finishing a course with that advisor, he stated that my work was of such high quality, he might use it as the answer handbook. My household valued training, so I drew on their classes to push via quite a few challenges and failures alongside the best way. I’m grateful for a lot of others who believed in and inspired me.

Q: How have these experiences impacted your personal method to educating and assembly college students the place they’re?

The challenges I confronted gave me higher empathy and a clearer understanding that college students come to us at completely different levels of improvement and with completely different levels of preparation. I’m cautious to not move judgment or make assumptions about college students’ talents, and I encourage them to leverage their strengths. 

Q: What’s engaged studying and the way do you put it to use in your classroom? What worth does it carry to college students? And on the flip facet, how do engaged studying strategies assist lecturers?

Engaged studying is energetic studying. College students are invited to be a part of the training expertise and never passively eat info. I typically use the flipped classroom method, the place class is led by college students grappling with real-world challenges which are attribute of the themes we’re exploring and collaborating to resolve them. I draw from entrepreneurial-mindset improvement, design considering and management improvement. I consider college students are higher ready to enter the actual world consequently. There are various engaged-learning strategies, and I’ve discovered they maintain educating vibrant and progressive. 

Q: What concepts have you ever seen work at universities that need improve their help for school of their educating efforts?

It’s highly effective when universities worth the scholarship of educating and studying as skilled exercise. Efficient approaches permit school time and sources to pursue skilled improvement alternatives and launch time for extra immersive experiences. 

Q: Elon College is exclusive in that its engineering program was developed via the lens of the humanities. Are you able to converse to why the college opted to do that and the way you’ve seen it set college students aside from their friends as they pursue careers after commencement?

The breadth of examine within the liberal arts makes our engineering majors extra artistic downside solvers, drawing on experiences, information and abilities gained in different educational areas. Their interactions and collaborations with college students outdoors STEM applications additionally make them more practical communicators. These are extremely valued skilled abilities.

I as soon as mentioned a hiring course of with an employer who didn’t know I used to be affiliated with Elon’s engineering program. They described an Elon graduate as “head and shoulders above” different engineering candidates and stated their interview proved that the coed had glorious preparation to be an efficient communicator, to resolve issues creatively and to collaborate with others. 

Q: What would you encourage different school to do to help college students they really feel are struggling to succeed in their full potential?

As an empath, I might encourage different school to show from the guts, be observant of scholars and be gradual to leap to conclusions. Discover quiet moments to easily ask college students how they’re and invite them to share extra about their experiences, then actually pay attention. Final, discover methods to assist college students establish and articulate their “why.”


Elon College, a mid-sized non-public college in North Carolina ranked by U.S. Information as the highest college for undergraduate educating, has made engaged studying a precedence, equipping its educators with the instruments, sources and time essential to develop this method to educating as a pedagogical cornerstone. For extra info on Engaged Studying strategies and greatest practices, please go to Elon’s Middle for Engaged Studying.

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