Please Mind the Student Trust Gap
- Posted by Chris Flanagan
- On October 4, 2022
Insights and Opportunities from the Lived Experiences of Today’s Majority Learners
Trust is at the foundation of healthy relationships. At its core, trust is a “firm belief in the reliability, honesty, integrity, or strength of someone or something.” It is an expectation that two parties will act in a way that is mutually beneficial. For these reasons, trust is a key element of effective communication, teamwork, commitment, and productivity. When present, it leads to stronger relationships and healthier cultures. Because of the inherent vulnerability involved in trusting relationships, it is widely understood that trust must be earned. In some instances, it can be hard to build and sustain because people may not be aware of the unintentional ways that they have broken trust.
Within the backdrop of this definition, Kinetic Seeds, in the summer of 2022, gathered a group of today’s students to explore:
- The dimensions of trust (or mistrust) between students and institutions, and how trust affects the value of an education beyond high school.
- The nexus of race, education, and the economy through the lens of trust.
- The realities of how higher education either won, violated, or lost the trust of students.
- Long-standing power differentials and alienation patterns that exist within racially marginalized communities.
Within this research, we learned that students have high expectations of their respective institutions. But do these expectations match reality? In many cases, the answer is no which plays a profound role in how and where students trust their institution, and the people within it.
Exploring ways in which trust can be built (or rebuilt) can help faculty, staff, and leaders create stronger relationships and healthier cultures that lead to thriving student experiences and equitable outcomes.
DOWNLOAD Please Mind the Student Trust Gap
Designed for institutional and organizational leaders and decision-makers, our report offers both a reflection of the realities of students’ lived experiences and an instigation to us all to consider what the renewal of trust could be.
Kinetic Seeds’ approach to strengthening student voice and engagement in higher education constructs new spaces within which students, learners, educators, advocates, leaders, policymakers, and others can make meaning together. By being attentive and open with one another in ways that encourage our mutual responsibility for the quality and dignity of our lives, true and genuine connection occurs.
We gratefully acknowledge Lumina Foundation for sponsoring this work. We express our gratitude to organizational partners LEDA Scholars, Campus Compact, Veteran’s Education Success, NASPA, UAspire, and Higher Learning Advocates. Without your student recruitment support and belief in the power of student voice, this work would not have been possible.
And finally, to the 51 students who gave so generously of their time and experience – we say thank you. We believe you hold the answers to much of what needs fixing within the system of higher education. As role models and change-makers, you taught us much about how to be accomplices for equity as well as how we might alter the design of higher education to better support you and your vision for the future. And while we acknowledge that you are but one voice who does not represent the whole of your race or culture, it’s through demonstrations such as this when student voice and engagement in higher education transformation takes hold.
 For more information visit: https://www.ywcaworks.org/blogs/ywca/tue-12212021-1103/whats-difference-between-ally-and-accomplice