Academically Adrift

The educational establishment in America has suffered another blow with the publication of Academically Adrift by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. You might have already heard about some of their findings in the media: nearly half of college students display no improvement in a range of skills (such as critical thinking and writing) after two full years, and over a third show no improvement after four years.

Apparently, not much is expected of students these days. The institutional cultures of universities increasingly stress social experiences over academic achievement. A large percentage of students reports taking no classes where they are required to read more than 40 pages per week or write more than 20 pages in the course of a semester. Those who take courses with this higher level of expectations perform better academically.

According to the authors, students in traditional liberal-arts degree plans show more academic improvement than students in business, education, and social work. Hmm.

I’ll give a dollar to anyone who can give me a realistic strategy to turn my school around!

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About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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4 Responses to Academically Adrift

  1. worldtake says:

    Welcome to the march of the Twidiots and the Texterbaters.

  2. I have no idea if it’s realistic, and you’ve probably already considered it, but John Senior did a world of good at Kansas in the short time that program was there. Could you do something similar.

    • Dr. J says:

      We actually do have a Great Books program for honors students. We are looking at ways to get elements of that program into contact with the rest of the student population.

  3. Talk to Jean Rioux at Benedictine in Atchison Kansas. I think he’s been doing the same for a while, and I know he understands the overall subject very well.

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