Our Town Hastings: Hastings College

Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 2:28 PM CST
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There are several new initiatives at Hastings College designed to help engage 21st Century students.

One way that Hastings College is engaging students is by offering the chance to study abroad. During a student's second year at Hastings College, they spend a transformational two-week block studying abroad. This year students are going to France, Ireland, Peru, Spain, Honduras, the United Kingdom and Canada. The College believes so strongly in experience students get this experience at no additional cost.

Dr. Travis Feezell is the President of Hastings College. He says another effort that is now underway is "block-style" semesters. "Again, another one of the bold changes we looked at was the block style semester," Feezell said. "Think about the traditional class schedule at an institution. It's spread out over 16 weeks. You might meet with a professor twice a week. So instead of the traditional semester, we broke it down and said, we'll do a two-week block, and we'll have two seven-week blocks. It's a very different way of learning, but our students are reacting to it very powerfully."

In addition, when students arrive to campus, they are set up with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. They are also given assistance on how to best incorporate these technology tools into their studies. The Apple Pencil lets students take notes, sketch, annotate digital lab books and do all the things that drive learning. Finally,

The high cost of textbooks is in the news a lot. Hastings College has eliminated this unpredictable cost by working with the bookstore and publishers to provide all required books for students. This saves many students $1,000 or more each year, and by providing textbooks and technology tools, professors know every student is ready to learn and contribute the first day of class.

"When a student comes here, they don't pay for the iPad, and they no longer pay for books," Feezell said. "We are curating their experience in a much more powerful way, and supporting them financially as well."

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