We mean the assumption that retention is just keeping students in school longer, without serious regard for the quality of their learning or their cumulative learning outcomes at graduation.
We mean the enormous expenditures devoted purely to securing a “better ranking” in the magazine surveys.
We mean the progressive reduction in academic, intellectual, and behavioral expectations that has undermined the culture, learning conditions, and civility of so many campus communities.
None of this makes for higher learning, nor does it adequately prepare students for employment or citizenship.
We need to rethink the ends and means of higher education.
We have reduced K-12 schooling to basic skill acquisition that effectively leaves most students underprepared for college-level learning.
We have bastardized the bachelor’s degree by allowing it to morph into a ticket to a job (though, today, that ticket often doesn’t get you very far).
The primary problem is that the current culture of colleges and universities no longer puts learning first -- and in most institutions, that culture perpetuates a fear of doing so.
Isolated examples to the contrary exist, but are only the exceptions that prove the rule.
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.