Week 12 – The Evolving State of Higher Ed. Today

My impressions of the films are that the landscape of higher ed has shifted over the years. In fact, higher ed will continue to evolve as the economy and society changes. The quality of education seems to be a revolving theme in terms of time dedication from students and quality of teaching. I think one of the biggest challenges to higher ed is the cost of education. Most students have to work to support their education, which in turn, may affect their studies in many ways. “Sleepwalking” is an element of fatigue that is not conducive to learning. I can not really tell the morality of students drifting through college. I think the society as a whole has a minimalist attitude, so it is not surprising to see students wanting to play more than learn. More especially in their junior years, then progressively become better, more attentive and responsible individuals.

Overall, I believe context matters. New communication media and technologies have brought existing knowledge to the reach of students. If channeled properly, routine technological interfaces may enhance knowledge acquisition more than some “one-dimensional” class readings. The ability for students to think critically and act rationally is key, at least to me. The level of exposure that students get at colleges or grad schools (the college experience) are formative and will mold them into better citizens. Universities must guide and make sure that fundamental social and moral skills are learned in and out of class, that will allow students to have the ability to fully comprehend, learn and appraise the values of the society through class collaboration and other social interactions.

I think the question of standards or quality of degrees are subjective and very relative. For example, in terms of values and norms, I believe students learn more from their peers than they learn from teachers. Working while studying offer students with real-world work experience that may have greater value to their career than theoretical abstractions. The one area of clear needs is in writing, which is often a lagging area for students. But universities and colleges are also cultural centers – where young minds are reawakened to the expectations and complexities of the society-at-large. While there are many issues with college sports in general, sports on campus, play a vital link in creating an identity and a fostering a sense of community for many students.

There are arguments on both sides on the role of sports and student-athletes, which I argue is mostly non-academic. The morality of the business and academic debates are for the most part irrelevant to the student of students. If sports can help pay for graduate teaching assistants (TAs), then, that is a good thing. TAs are an important part of the academic ecosystem of any university.  TAs are vital to the success of the university but an active supervision and mentoring from more experienced faculty members are needed to guide and provide structure in their activities. Higher ed, like many other parts of the economy and society, will evolve over time, adjusting and rebalancing to continue to play a pivotal role in societal development.