Opinion: Most Viewed: College shouldn’t be a big waste of time and money

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Has college gotten too easy? In an opinion article by professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, also authors of ‘Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,’ they paint a picture of students hanging out on a campus, collecting friends to add to their Facebook roster and picking the easiest classes possible while their colleges laugh all the way to the bank. Here, they say, is the heart of the problem:

In much of higher education, the problem is in part that undergraduate education is no longer a top priority. Instead of focusing on undergraduates and what they are learning, schools have come to care more about such things as admission yields, graduation rates, faculty research productivity, pharmaceutical patents, deluxe dormitory rooms, elaborate student centers and state-of-the-art athletic facilities complete with luxury boxes. Many institutions favor priorities that can be boasted about in alumni magazines and admission brochures or that can help boost their scores in college rankings. Colleges have abandoned responsibility for shaping students’ academic development and instead have come to embrace a service model that caters to satisfying students’ expressed desires.

Consequently, many students are graduating with financial debt and without ‘the skills necessary to be successful in today’s knowledge-based economy.’

Read on for Arum and Roksa’s solution to this problem, which also takes lazy students to task.



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