The Chronicle of Higher Education has two articles — one, two — on Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s new book Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates, the sequel to Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (2011). The news is not good.
And here, also from this week’s Chronicle, are Arum and Roksa themselves:
We find it implausible that in a globalized knowledge economy, the current state of affairs will continue indefinitely. Not just because the growth in college costs is unsustainable, but also because legislators, families, and students will have difficulties justifying why resources are increasingly allocated not to improving instruction but to building new dormitories, student centers, and athletic facilities. While this might be an effective institutional strategy for attracting 17-year-olds as consumers and keeping them satisfied with “bread and circuses” once enrolled, it has produced a competition to provide the best amenities and student services money can buy and the least challenging academic demands and expectations.I think of the reading list I created when I first taught a garden-variety freshman-lit class: Barthes’s Mythologies, The Turn of the Screw, Dubliners, A Confederacy of Dunces, The Blue and Brown Books — oh, and Don Quixote, all of it. Today that list would look like the dark dream of some horrible outlier.
A related post
A review of Academically Adrift
[Did the students read and get something from those works? They sure did. And Cervantes and Toole went together well.]