Rebecca D. Cox '89 to speak about students' college success Nov. 18

Nov. 1, 2010 10:49 a.m.

The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning will present a lecture by Professor Rebecca D. Cox '89 at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, in the Frist Campus Center, Room 302, on the campus of Princeton University. The subject of Cox's talk will be her book "The College Fear Factor: How Students and Professors Misunderstand Each Other," which centers on a discussion about how the traditional college culture can actually pose obstacles to students' success and suggests strategies for effectively explaining academic expectations. She draws on five years of interviews and observations at community colleges.

Cox, an assistant professor of education at Seton Hall University, received her Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley's Graduate School of Education. She has six years of teaching experience, including three years as a community college instructor in southern California. She earned an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.A. from the University of Texas-Austin. Her research interests revolve around issues of equity and postsecondary opportunity. She has conducted much of her research at the community college level, where she has investigated the dynamics of teaching and learning within the context of organizational structures, norms and policies. Her current research focuses on the transition from high school to college and includes exploration of students' high school experiences, career aspirations and postsecondary planning.

Marvin Lazerson, professor emeritus and former provost and dean of the University of Pennsylvania, writes in his review of the book that "Rebecca Cox 's argument is both simple and compelling. She reminds us that students often enter classrooms feeling academically inadequate, with very limited definitions of 'real' instruction or 'useful' knowledge. Combine that with teachers' definitions of learning, and of what's important to know, and the result can be mutual frustration, with each side blaming the other. We have learned a great deal in the last 20 years about what goes on in classrooms. But no one before Cox has shown so clearly what teacher-student interactions about learning and teaching are like, how these are interpreted, or misinterpreted, and with what consequences. The implications go far beyond community colleges. This is a book that should be read by every teacher at every level."

The event is free and open to the public. **Recording of the event is not permitted.** Members of the media interested in more information may contact Janine Calogero at (609) 258-2379 or The public is invited to visit the McGraw Center's website for more details.