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We mean the kind of thinking that elevates “branding” and “marketing” in importance and priority above educational programs and academic quality as ways to attract students and secure robust enrollments.We mean the deplorable practice of building attractive new buildings while offering lackluster first- and second-year courses taught primarily by poorly paid and dispirited contingent faculty.The academy has adopted an increasingly consumer-based ethic that has produced costly and dangerous effects: the expectations and standards of a rigorous liberal education have been displaced by thinly disguised professional or job training curriculums; teaching and learning have been devalued, deprioritized, and replaced by an emphasis on magazine rankings; and increased enrollment, winning teams, bigger and better facilities, more revenue from sideline businesses, and more research grants have replaced learning as the primary touchstone for decision-making.
Minimal student effort is rewarded with inflated grades.
What is needed is non-incremental change; to make higher learning a reality, we as a nation must undertake a comprehensive review of undergraduate higher education and introduce dramatic reforms in colleges and universities of all types.
Culture -- in higher education, and in our society -- is at the heart of the matter.
We allow passivity to dominate students’ already slight engagement with courses and faculty.
Collectively Putting Learning First The common lament that higher education has become a business, or that it has emerged from its recent struggles having too much “corporate” character, is not the primary issue.