Thursday, July 17, 2014

A major source of problems on campus

Resolved: That treating college students as children rather than adults is the cause of many significant problems in contemporary higher education.

Over the past three decades student freedom and autonomy has been steadily eroded, as an administrative superstructure has steadily increased in size and power.

This reduction of freedom and expansion of administration has been justified in terms of alleviating campus social pathologies, but problems associated with alcohol and drug use, sexual assault, cheating and poor academic performance, student disengagement and dissatisfaction have, at best, remained unchanged.

The evolution of campuses from self-governing, non-coercive intellectual communities towards regimented "complete and austere institutions" has also been correlated with a massive increase in costs.

There is no evidence that these increased costs or the increased surveillance and regulation of student life have generated higher intellectual achievement or greater student satisfaction. In fact, the reverse appears to be true.

Therefore: the experiment of increasing the size and power of the administrative apparatus and reducing the freedom of students to organize and govern themselves has failed to produce its promised results. Current problems will not be solved by making colleges more like high schools, but instead by respecting students as adults with all the freedom and responsibility that should attend that status.


Marcel R. Aubron-B├╝lles said...
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John Cowan said...

I think of this as fundamentally a return to the pre-1960's situation, but much less intensely so. I don't, for example, expect to see a return to sex-segregated dorms and in loco parentis any time soon. Academic politics alternate between a party of innovation and a party of arrested innovation; the latter has been dominant for some time now.

Fr Aidan Hix, O.S.C. said...

Hi Dr Drout, I've just recently become familiar with your work via Tolkien studies. And I was able to listen to one of your lectures on youtube, which I really enjoyed. Thats how I stumbled across your blog here. But I dont see a widget or anything which allows me to "Follow" your blog. I was wondering if you could add a widget through your dash board to allow viewers to follow you more easily. Thank you! Im excited to read your articles and your books. do you have any of your lectures available?