The Well-Balanced Nudge: How to Impact Behavior without Limiting Choice
From slicing apples to sending texts, education professionals have drawn from a growing suite of behavioral insights to design interventions that positively influence student behavior. Nudging can take on a variety of forms that range in strength and scale, but with such an adaptable concept comes the need to prevent confusion or unintentional misuse in practice. While behavioral interventions are rightfully discussed for their potential to achieve large-scale change at low costs, it’s also worth underscoring the importance of implementing nudges with fidelity. Ethical nudges should be designed with the intention of benefitting those being nudged, and they should never be misleading, coercive, or restrictive. As illustrated in a satirical cartoon from the Behavioral Scientist magazine, a “gentle tap of good sense” falls neatly in the center of the nudge continuum, whereas “feather of statistical insignificance” and “bat of paternalistic overreach” lie on opposite ends. In this post, NASPA's Research and Policy Associate Alexa Wesley offers a few suggestions for ways student affairs professionals can strike the right balance on the nudging scale.
A Gathering of Hopes and Stories: Organizing for a Thriving Democracy
The vision animating this series of essays on higher education’s role in supporting a thriving democracy is fundamentally about culture. What would a thriving civic culture look like, and be like? How would it feel to live and learn in that culture? How would people interact, support each other’s growth, work through and across differences, make collective decisions, and pursue life, liberty, and happiness together? How can colleges and universities support the development of that culture through both structured and unstructured learning experiences, and through campus practices that embody the thriving democracy to which we aspire?
Food Security: The Answer from a Call to Civic Action
The new Bearcat Pantry now demonstrates the answer to the need. To really get an actual running pantry with consistent donations, funds, hours of operation, and a safe location, it took the action and commitment of multiple offices and departments to do so. The Bearcat Pantry has been the most supported, sustained and collaborative community project on Willamette’s campus in the history of the CSL office.
It’s Up-to -Us at Middlesex Community College
Middlesex Community College (MCC) partnered with Up-to-Us, a national program building awareness and generating action about America’s fiscal future. The MCC team competed to create national debt campus programs. With support from Principles of Economics faculty and the Civic and Service-Learning Office, the team participated in webinars on the national debt, promotion and event management.
Stop, Deliberate and Listen
About two years ago, Brockport began using Deliberative Dialogues to engage all members of our campus community in discussions that promote perspective taking, collective problem solving and the challenging of assumptions. Since that time, we have been amazed at the different populations we have engaged and the differing viewpoints shared about topics like safety and justice, poverty, hunger, drug and substance abuse, immigration and many others.
Institution Spotlight: Buena Vista University’s Education for Service
Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA took a bold step forward this winter by introducing a scholarship program designed to allow several Buena Vista County high school students to study at their local hometown college campus. The “Education For Service” (EFS) scholarship was established for 10 local first-generation, Pell Grant and Iowa Tuition Grant Eligible students, to receive a scholarship package equal to full tuition.