Expectations for hard work in college have fallen victim to smorgasbord-style curriculums, large lecture classes, and institutional needs to retain students in order to make the budget.Minimal student effort is rewarded with inflated grades.Colleges focus too much on rankings and pushing students through, and too little on academic rigor and quality.Tags: Excuses For HomeworkBest Creative Writing UniversitiesMotel Business PlanLiteracy Homework IdeasCause And Effect Essay Yahoo AnswersSchool Argumentative Essay TopicsSociology Functionalism EssaysAp Biology Essay Questions Cell MembraneWhat Is An Overview Of A Research PaperSeattle Pacific Admissions Essay
The leaders of many, if not most, colleges and universities might agree with this assessment of the problem, but would likely argue, with some justice, that no single institution can risk being the only one to change; that restoring attention to the fundamentals, rather than the frills, would put that one institution at serious risk.
Indeed, it is true that this is a collective problem, and that action by many schools, supported by a strong national impetus for change, is a necessary condition for success.
The core explanation is this: the academy lacks a serious culture of teaching and learning.
When students do not learn enough, we must question whether institutions of higher education deliver enough value to justify their costs.
We mean the kind of thinking that elevates “branding” and “marketing” in importance and priority above educational programs and academic quality as ways to attract students and secure robust enrollments.
We mean the deplorable practice of building attractive new buildings while offering lackluster first- and second-year courses taught primarily by poorly paid and dispirited contingent faculty.
The academy has adopted an increasingly consumer-based ethic that has produced costly and dangerous effects: the expectations and standards of a rigorous liberal education have been displaced by thinly disguised professional or job training curriculums; teaching and learning have been devalued, deprioritized, and replaced by an emphasis on magazine rankings; and increased enrollment, winning teams, bigger and better facilities, more revenue from sideline businesses, and more research grants have replaced learning as the primary touchstone for decision-making.
Teaching is increasingly left to contingent faculty; tenure-track professors have few incentives to spend time with undergraduates, improve their teaching, or measure what their students are learning.
Resolving the learning crisis will therefore require fundamental, thoroughgoing changes in our colleges and universities.
There must be real change -- change beyond simplistic answers such as reducing costs and improving efficiency -- to improve value.