Haley Scholars Spring 2013 Reading Groups
By Chandra Alford
In the beginning pages (1 - 19) of Academically Adrift, the
authors are attempting to define why so many undergraduates attend
college with the ambition to achieve their lofty dreams without
seriously considering what is truly expected of them. Institutional
changes based on financial gain accompanied with jaded faculty members
seems to be in part the blame for this problem.
Arum and Roksa argue, “While some of these additional noninstructional
obligations are mandated by the institutions that employ faculty--as in
the university and department committee meetings that professors often
complain about--many of these additional activities likely advance
faculty careers, but are largely unrelated or only indirectly related to
undergraduate instruction (8).” The authors argue further that the
devaluing of undergraduate education is caused by the lack of time
devoted by faculty to their instructional duties. It is important to
note that the authors stated this type of behavior usually occurs more
at research institutions rather than at public and state universities.
Based on what you read in Academically Adrift so far, what do you think
deserves more of our attention--low academic standards set by faculty,
institutions putting financial interests before learning interests and
intellectual development, or the aimless pursuits of students who choose
to be consumers rather than contributors? Why?