Basic Needs Security and the Syllabus

Hunger and homelessness are seriously challenges facing today's undergraduates. How can faculty address this critical retention issue, helping to create "student-ready" colleges? Here is a low-touch approach that I tried just before the start of the 2017-18 academic year.


  1. It all started with a blog and a tweet. Following a Virtually Connecting session at Digital Pedagogy Lab, I wrote about new material I'd added to my Temple University fall syllabus earlier that morning.
  2. Here's the session that led to the blog.
  3. The response was immediate. A professor at Lehman College (CUNY) was first.
  4. Of course I said YES-- my goal is widespread adoption helping to support fundamental changes in colleges and universities across the country. The next response came from the other coast.
  5. Sara, a doctoral student at UW-Milwaukee, nailed it. This isn't a major change in practice-- it is a modest lift that takes but a moment.
  6. It really didn't take Stuart long at all!
  7. And with that, I began to explain in a keynote address why basic needs security must be addressed if we want more students to complete the degrees they so desperately need and want.