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Apr 12 / otl

Teach Students How to Learn

Dr. Saundra McGuire presenting to WSU faculty and staff

Dr. Saundra McGuire presenting to WSU faculty and staff

Dr. Saundra McGuire, the Director Emerita of the Center for Academic Success and retired Assistant Vice Chancellor and Professor of Chemistry at Louisiana State University (LSU) was our featured speaker on Tuesday, March 28th 2017.  The campus wide forum on teaching and learning was co-hosted by the Office for Teaching and Learning and the Wayne State University (WSU) National Science Foundation – funded WIDER/ SSTEPS Grant Program. As a part of this forum, Provost Keith Whitfield addressed participants on the importance of meeting students where they are, emphasized that what may have worked 10 years ago may no longer be sufficient and that new strategies are called for in today’s classrooms. Dr. McGuire engaged a diverse audience of over one hundred and fifty Wayne State faculty, senior academic leaders, and academic staff members on the topic of engaging students in their learning. McGuire, author of Teach Students How to Learn, led participants through a series of highly interactive exercises in a workshop that exemplified how the use of simple learning strategies, such as introducing students to the study cycle and Bloom’s taxonomy, can significantly improve students’ academic success.

Dr. Saundra McGuire presenting to WSU faculty and staff

Dr. Saundra McGuire presenting to WSU faculty and staff

As a follow up to Dr. McGuire’s presentation, we have included several tips and strategies suggested by Dr. McGuire to help students acquire simple, effective learning strategies:

  • Emphasize that students’ actions, not their intelligence, will determine their success
  • Establish high expectations and show students how to meet those expectation on the first day of class
  • Provide early opportunity for success so that students can build confidence in their ability to excel in the course
  • Assign students real0world tasks to help them develop a senses of belonging to the larger university community
  • Clearly articulate assignment expectations to students and provide rubrics and examples as possible

To access the presentation used by Dr. McGuire, click here (PDF) or here (PowerPoint).

Faculty and staff engaged in Dr. Saundra McGuire's presentation

Faculty and staff engaged in Dr. Saundra McGuire’s presentation

Additionally, consultants in the Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL) are available to meet with you in person, by phone, or virtual meeting spaces (e.g., Skype or Blackboard Collaborate) to discuss strategies for helping students how to learn. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the OTL at 313-577-0001 or email

Use the comment section below to let us know what tip and strategies you have found most useful when you anticipate needing to respond to a range of student readiness in a course!


McGuire, S.Y. (2015). Teach Students How to Learn. Sterling, VA: Stylus.