Change -- and not a little -- is needed across higher education, Richard Keeling and Richard Hersh argue. Too many college graduates are not prepared to think critically and creatively, speak and write cogently and clearly, solve problems, comprehend complex issues, accept responsibility and accountability, take the perspective of others, or meet the expectations of employers. How can this be if American higher education is supposed to be the best in the world?
The core explanation is this: the academy lacks a serious culture of teaching and learning.
Culture -- in higher education, and in our society -- is at the heart of the matter.
We have reduced K-12 schooling to basic skill acquisition that effectively leaves most students underprepared for college-level learning.
Teaching is increasingly left to contingent faculty; tenure-track professors have few incentives to spend time with undergraduates, improve their teaching, or measure what their students are learning.
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. Clarice's essay can be found below: “What Does Freedom Mean to Me?I don’t have any room for mistakes so it would be harder to learn about life.There must be real change -- change beyond simplistic answers such as reducing costs and improving efficiency -- to improve value.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.Freedom also means having the time to do things right.No freedom, in this case, would mean that I wouldn’t have any time for fantastic, clever thoughts.While I am under so much pressure, it makes it a more stressful world to live in.One last example of what freedom means to me is being able to do many things without being forced into doing anything.When students do not learn enough, we must question whether institutions of higher education deliver enough value to justify their costs.Resolving the learning crisis will therefore require fundamental, thoroughgoing changes in our colleges and universities.