Tina Bhargava “Bandwidth Toolkit for Faculty”
Students who live in or have been raised in conditions of economic insecurity and/or systems perpetuating racism or other forms of discrimination, are likely to be functioning with limited availability of “mental bandwidth” for learning and success in higher education. Many common pedagogical practices contribute to greater gaps in student achievement in ways that we seldom recognize. As a Faculty Fellow, Dr. Bhargava is compiling a faculty toolkit for making changes to curriculum design and pedagogical practices that can help to increase equity in opportunities for learning and success. Learning tasks that have unnecessarily high cognitive demands can be streamlined, and cognitive demands can be purposefully aligned with learning objectives. Several of the strategies currently being promoted to increase equity in student success in higher education—experiential education, respect for the “whole student,” relevance of traditionally undervalued strengths, etc—can be understood and unified through an understanding of mental bandwidth, and can be enhanced by practices that facilitate value-driven use of this valuable and limited resource.