The latest Jeremiad About Higher Education

There is another new book out lamenting the deterioration of our nation’s system of higher education:  Academically Adrift compiles the research of authors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, documenting the inability of many students to improve their intellectual capabilities while in college.   (College-bashing is a big industry these days, so it’s always wise to take such claims with a grain of salt.)  According to the University of Chicago Press, here is one of their main points:

As troubling as their findings are, Arum and Roksa argue that for many faculty and administrators they will come as no surprise—instead, they are the expected result of a student body distracted by socializing or working and an institutional culture that puts undergraduate learning close to the bottom of the priority list.

It has always struck me as curious that, over the past 20 years or so, the student affairs divisions at colleges (particularly public colleges) appeared so intent on providing students with experiences better suited to summer camps or day care centers.  Rather than removing students from the distractions of commercialism they often seem intent on immersing them in the thick of it.  Apparently Arum and  Roksa conclude that students would be better off if those resources were devoted to more demanding academic experiences.  Inside Higher Ed has some thoughts about this here and here.

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