Over the past decade, colleges and universities have focused their efforts on student success as measured by increased graduation rates and reduced time to degree. These efforts have led to major gains, and they are ongoing. They have also naturally led to the next frontier in higher education where success is measured not only by graduation rates but also by impact on students' wellbeing long after graduation.
This greater goal is as appropriate to small liberal arts colleges as it is to regional and national public universities. If college is in fact meant to prepare students to achieve financial viability, find meaning in their human relationships and their work, contribute to the common good, and achieve lifelong well-being and satisfaction, higher education needs to establish which experiences during a student’s education are most likely to lead to these life-transformative outcomes. This talk will describe some of the forces that are currently buffeting higher education as well as the work of the Coalition for Life Transformative Education in moving us toward a future in which students are empowered with identity, agency, and purpose.
Dean emeritus, Bucknell University, and Co-Leader, Coalition for Life Transformative Education
Keith W. Buffinton is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Dean of Engineering, emeritus, at Bucknell University. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering summa cum laude from Tufts University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Following his graduate studies, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. At Bucknell, he also served as co-director of Bucknell's Institute for Leadership in Technology and Management as well as Special Assistant to the Provost for Engineering Collaborations.
Prof. Buffinton has received various awards for his teaching and leadership, including Bucknell’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, the “Star Performers Award for Innovation” from the Small Business Development Center of Pennsylvania, the award for “Outstanding Achievement in Mechanical Engineering Practice” from the Tufts Department of Mechanical Engineering, the inaugural Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network Dean’s Award in recognition of “leadership to advance entrepreneurial engineering,” and the Charles H. Coder Entrepreneurial Leadership Award “in recognition of transformational leadership and vision for the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship at Bucknell University.”
Prof. Buffinton is a former member of the Rural Business Innovation Corporation Board of Directors, the Executive Board of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council, and is past chair of the American Association of Engineering Societies Engineering Education Working Group. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Smull College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University, the Advisory Board for the Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME) Department at the University of Toledo, the Advisory Board for the Tufts Center for Engineering Education Outreach, the Interim Executive Committee for the Grand Challenges Scholars Program Network, and the Steering Committee for the Coalition for Life Transformative Education.