Despite its number one spot on college rankings, Princeton must continue to experiment with how it educates students, former University president Harold Shapiro *64 said at a Sept. 29 conversation on education.
The conversation, held in the Friend Center, was part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Princeton Adult School, a nonprofit organization that offers classes for adult residents of the Princeton area. University trustee and former ABC News anchor Charles Gibson ’65 discussed changes in higher education with four current or former college presidents: Shapiro, Shirley Tilghman, Carmen Twillie Ambar *94 of Cedar Crest College, and Rebecca Chopp of Swarthmore College.
Tilghman pointed out that at Princeton, one significant ongoing change is the diversity of the student body. “We have to continue to do a much better job at finding highly talented students from all over the world, and we’ve got to find them in all socioeconomic categories,” she said.
Tilghman also stressed that there still remain many high-achieving low-income students who are not getting the education they deserve and that Princeton should increase efforts to reach out to them.
Chopp added that at Swarthmore, not only is today’s student body more diverse in terms of socioeconomic status, but it is also more diverse in terms of learning styles. According to Chopp, one way institutions are addressing this change is by using technology to enhance education.
“I think about teaching in the future as improv jazz instead of handing down knowledge over generations,” she said. “We’re going to see more and more hands-on learning, more and more flipped classrooms, which means the students are first watching the lecture in their bedrooms and going in to the seminars.”