Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ACA: College Cultures and Student Learning

 Haley Scholars Fall 2012 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?


Jasmine said...

I think the issue that deserves the most attention is the low academic standards set by faculty. As students we should be hungry and eager to learn but at the same time that hunger will start to lack if the person who is supposed to be feeding us knowledge does not put their best foot forward also. Students are still growing in knowledge and if we have a lazy teacher, we might get the passing grade, but we have learned absolutely nothing.

Also, when a student has a teacher who doesn't care, they start to get the mindset of why should I? What's funny is many teachers have this same mindset towards the students. When a teacher gets to the point that they are just going through the motions that's when theirs a real problem. As a student I know when I have a teacher who's is very interested in and excited about what they are teaching that makes me even more interested in the subject.

So, if teachers would set higher standards, even if it does mean they have to do more work, ultimately students will learn more and work harder.

Hilary Conrad said...

I definitely feel that the lack of being challenged by teachers is an issue at this school. Too often I have had teachers that spoon feed answers so that the class can pass. Often times the books given to us go unopened the entire semester. Where are we being challenged?

On the flip side, I have had teachers who do encourage their students to learn. While these classes are harder and require more effort, I feel that I am actually getting something out of the class.

I think that more teachers need to take more of an interest in our education. There is something to learn everyday, or else why would I be going to school to just be spoon fed tests?

Monique Williams said...

I must say, for the most part, I have had very good experiences with the faculty at SIUE. I think the biggest problem is students who rather be consumers then contributors.

In high school all our needs were mostly catered too, or maybe it was just in the town I grew up in. I was very naive to the world and was not used to making my own decisions because high school for the most part is not a decision.

College is an option. We are know students and adults who are given more responsibility and choices. No longer are professors responsible for catering to our needs. I so often hear students complain, also myself, that this professor is not good because he expects too much out of us, or that course is just too hard.

Just as it is our professors job to assist and educate us with the materials needed for our success, it is also OUR responsibilities as students and adults to use our resources wisely.