What does a plant look like without enough nutrients, water, or sunlight to thrive? What do people look like without enough food, sleep, or shelter to thrive? Thriving requires that fundamental needs be met. Maslow’s 1943 paper on human motivation suggests a hierarchy of human needs, the most basic of which must be met (e.g. food, sleep, and shelter) before being able to focus on higher level needs (e.g. pursuing one’s full potential). When students struggle in class, it might not be that they’re lazy, uninterested, or ill-equipped for college. In some cases, it might be that they’re not getting their most fundamental needs met in life.
As educators, we encourage students to maximize their potential, which is only a possibility after their basic needs are met. Similarly, faculty can only maximize their potential when their basic needs are met. Chico State has numerous resources (PDF) to assist both students and faculty with basic needs so our campus community can thrive.
Depending on a student’s situation, faculty can facilitate learning by handling some class policy violations on a case-by case basis. More than ever before, Chico State students are under significant financial pressures, working long hours outside of class, and have family obligations that are often “culturally non-negotiable.” Strict and unforgiving policies about assignment due dates or punctuality can exacerbate an already stressful situation for students. Fair and equitable class rules are important but must be in place to support and motivate more than penalize. Students who have their basic needs met, but just don’t’ try, deserve the consequences. Students who don’t have their basic needs met deserve compassion (and perhaps consequences as well as determined case-by-case). All students deserve access to this list of available resources. (PDF)
Knowing that many students, particularly in light of our changing demographics, may be (a) intimated to speak with a professor about their needs and (b) unaware of resources to help them, please consider informing students about this list to help them be successful by announcing them in class and including pertinent info on Bb or your syllabus. If you’re aware of other resources that should be added to the list, please reply to this e-mail.