Engaging Students: Stimulating Participation in and out of Class

gregory carr, Ph.D.

April 9, 2008


One of the most popular professors on the Howard University campus, Dr. Gregory Carr knows how to engage students. As a brand new Assistant Professor of African-American Studies, he was cited as a member of a “dream team” of faculty by the editors of the Hilltop student newspaper in the spring of 2002. He ranked among the “Top Ten” Howard employees in a poll of 1,500 students in both 2005 and 2006. By the spring of 2006, he had earned the title of “Professor of the Year” from the College of Arts & Sciences Student Council and the Howard University Student Association. Today students continue to flock to his lectures, even when he speaks at out-of-class events.

Research has confirmed the importance of such engagement. A 2006 study by the National Survey of Student Engagement revealed that “students who participate in collaborative learning and educational activities outside the classroom and who interact more with faculty members get better grades, are more satisfied with their education and are more likely to remain in college” (Chronicle of Higher Education 17 Nov. 2006). Most interesting, African Americans who merely attained an average level of engagement were far more likely to stay in school than whites.

Clearly, student engagement matters. That is why Dr. Carr has devoted so much time not only to researching Pan-African culture, nationalism, and historiography but also to engaging students at Howard and in the Philadelphia Public Schools. In Philadelphia, he even developed a nationally-recognized Freedom Schools leadership initiative as well as the curriculum for the schools’ African-American History requirement. Therefore, in this video, Dr. Carr will share his strategies for engaging students.

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