Mass-producing College Graduates

This post is in response to the article, “We Are Creating Walmarts of Higher Education”.  The following is a link to the article: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/12/we-are-creating-walmarts-of-higher-education/282619/

Overwhelming pressure to graduate more students is pushing policymakers to increase the number of university graduates.  To accomplish this, they have proposed reducing the “number of required credits”  and college courses, and creating a larger number of online courses.  Furthermore,  some universities are hiring more part-time faculty in order to save money.  Critics of this proposal argue that the changes proposed by the policymakers result in lower quality education, but specifically, that government allocated funding for public universities based on graduation rates as a relative measure “compels faculty to pass more students,” including those that otherwise would not”.

Humorously, two opponents of the proposal liken this system of education to big-businesses hinged on a mass-production of low-priced, cheap produce.  Specifically, rigging the system of higher education to allow for an increase the number of graduating students is like McDonald’s, “where more things are produced, but they’re not as good”.

To truly improve the system of education in order to increase the number of people graduating from universities, the students need to be encouraged.  The article suggests (1) increasing student-to-student in-/out-of-class engagement, (2) increased student-professor interaction, and (3) “outside-the-classroom experiential learning”.  At the end of the day, the long-term impact of changes to higher education has a greater positive relationship when the factor that determines how students acquire their college education is based solely on “what they’ve learned”.

george carlin

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