Today at the Chronicle I ran across what I took to be a fairly accurate depiction of the problematic ‘scene’ of higher education. Found in the ‘advice’ section, the title of the article is “A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education, Part 2” and it is by Michael Pannapacker at Hope College. Check it out here.
You should check out the article in full, assuming, of course, that you are interested, but the author raises the following cases that he sees characterizing the ‘scene’:
i) the student as consumer
ii) changing forms of literacy
iii) declining academic engagement
iv) alienation from professors
v) expanding social and extracurricular commitments
vi) escalating cost of education
vii) anxiety about future employment
viii) students feeling disullusioned, bored, apathetic, scared, and trapped
In raising these points Pannapacker was considering possible reasons by which “students (and, to a lesser extent, their parents) are not making choices that support educational success.” If you’ve read Academically Adrift (2011)– which is cited in the article–already, then you know that the text has drawn forth much discussion for the data contained therein. Specifically, the data suggests that students are emerging from undergraduate programs with no marked increase in the ability to critically think. Pannapacker’s article is a response, of sorts, to this data and the interpretation thereof.
What do you think of his account?