Friday, September 26, 2014

Colleges abandon academic rigor for amenities to bring in students.

Some excerpts from the full article are below:

“No film more deftly portrays college-age ennui than Mike Nichols’s classic 1967 movie, “The Graduate.”

“What are you doing?” Benjamin Braddock’s father demands of his son, who’s been spending his time since school lying on an air mattress in the backyard pool. “Well,” Benjamin replies, “I would say that I’m just drifting, here in the pool.” “Why?” Dad insists. “Well,” says Ben, “it’s very comfortable — just to drift

And so it is. Since 1967, all that’s changed about drifting endlessly in a pool is that now you can do it on campus while you’re still a student.”
"It’s all part of the trend toward competing for enrollment based on student “amenities,” whether lazy rivers or elaborate dining facilities. As of late 2012, 92 schools had embarked on 157 recreational capital projects, at a total cost of $1.7 billion, according to Simon Bravo, a spokesman for NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation (formerly the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association).
Just one question: Is this the best use of scarce resources, given that these facilities are ultimately underwritten by tuition and by federal and state taxpayer funding — and that colleges are supposed to be, you know, educational institutions?"

"What Arum and Roksa did not find  [in their research titled "Academically adrift"] was a lot of learning. Their first results, published in 2011, showed that students improved hardly at all in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing during their first two years of college. This was not surprising, given that 36 percent of students spent just five hours a week on solo study yet received a B-plus average for this modest effort."

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