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What is actually happening on college campuses in the years between admission and graduation? Not enough to keep America competitive, and not enough to provide our citizens with fulfilling lives. When A Nation at Risk called attention to the problems of our public schools in 1983, that landmark report provided a convenient "cover" for higher education, inadvertently implyin What is actually happening on college campuses in the years between admission and graduation? Not enough to keep America competitive, and not enough to provide our citizens with fulfilling lives. When A Nation at Risk called attention to the problems of our public schools in 1983, that landmark report provided a convenient "cover" for higher education, inadvertently implying that all was well on America's campuses. Declining by Degrees blows higher education's cover. It asks tough--and long overdue--questions about our colleges and universities. In candid, coherent, and ultimately provocative ways, Declining by Degrees reveals: - how students are being short-changed by lowered academic expectations and standards; -why many universities focus on research instead of teaching and spend more on recruiting and athletics than on salaries for professors; -why students are disillusioned; -how administrations are obsessed with rankings in news magazines rather than the quality of learning; -why the media ignore the often catastrophic results; and -how many professors and students have an unspoken "non-aggression pact" when it comes to academic effort. Declining by Degrees argues persuasively that the multi-billion dollar enterprise of higher education has gone astray. At the same time, these essays offer specific prescriptions for change, warning that our nation is in fact at greater risk if we do nothing.


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What is actually happening on college campuses in the years between admission and graduation? Not enough to keep America competitive, and not enough to provide our citizens with fulfilling lives. When A Nation at Risk called attention to the problems of our public schools in 1983, that landmark report provided a convenient "cover" for higher education, inadvertently implyin What is actually happening on college campuses in the years between admission and graduation? Not enough to keep America competitive, and not enough to provide our citizens with fulfilling lives. When A Nation at Risk called attention to the problems of our public schools in 1983, that landmark report provided a convenient "cover" for higher education, inadvertently implying that all was well on America's campuses. Declining by Degrees blows higher education's cover. It asks tough--and long overdue--questions about our colleges and universities. In candid, coherent, and ultimately provocative ways, Declining by Degrees reveals: - how students are being short-changed by lowered academic expectations and standards; -why many universities focus on research instead of teaching and spend more on recruiting and athletics than on salaries for professors; -why students are disillusioned; -how administrations are obsessed with rankings in news magazines rather than the quality of learning; -why the media ignore the often catastrophic results; and -how many professors and students have an unspoken "non-aggression pact" when it comes to academic effort. Declining by Degrees argues persuasively that the multi-billion dollar enterprise of higher education has gone astray. At the same time, these essays offer specific prescriptions for change, warning that our nation is in fact at greater risk if we do nothing.

30 review for Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    A collection of essays about the state of higher education in America, it is simultaneously fascinating and depressing. The essays in the middle of the book were the strongest for me, and while a few of them came up short (in particular, one discussing diversity in higher education turned what I believe is a class issue into a racial one - while closely linked, I continue to dislike this tendency to confuse race and class issues as it hurts the very people these discussions and distinctions are A collection of essays about the state of higher education in America, it is simultaneously fascinating and depressing. The essays in the middle of the book were the strongest for me, and while a few of them came up short (in particular, one discussing diversity in higher education turned what I believe is a class issue into a racial one - while closely linked, I continue to dislike this tendency to confuse race and class issues as it hurts the very people these discussions and distinctions are intended to help), as a whole this book is an enlightening read. While not comprehensive, the differing opinions and backgrounds provided sufficient depth to give me food for thought. I wish I had read something like this before I applied to college, although I wonder how much of it would have sunk in and registered with me at that point in my life. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe Pickert

    This book is a collection of essays on many of the problems currently facing higher education. I found a few to be quite interesting, especially the one focusing on the replacement of tenured faculty by adjunct professors and the general failure of universities to provide inclusive environments for marginalized people. My main gripe with this collection is that many of the writers just seem to be nostalgia tripping for their own halycon days in college without considering the massive socioeconomi This book is a collection of essays on many of the problems currently facing higher education. I found a few to be quite interesting, especially the one focusing on the replacement of tenured faculty by adjunct professors and the general failure of universities to provide inclusive environments for marginalized people. My main gripe with this collection is that many of the writers just seem to be nostalgia tripping for their own halycon days in college without considering the massive socioeconomic changes that have rendered the university of the past both obsolete and untenable. One author took issue with the prevailing attitude amongst modern students of seeing college primarily as a means to gain entrance to well-paying and fulfilling careers. To me, this criticism is ridiculous. While the intangible benefits of college such as maturation and intellectual development are important, they can be achieved much more effectively without needing to spend exorbitant amounts of money. If the private liberal arts schools that these authors so idolize feel the need to charge upwards of $40,000+ a year in tuition, they damn well better supply their students with the best tools available to succeed in their careers. Another author seemed to be lamenting the loss of intimacy between faculty and students, even going so far as to tacitly blame our "culture of litigation" for the demonization of sexual relationships between professors and their younger mentees. And people wonder why women feel uncomfortable in academia? Gross. If you can look past a few of these more problematic essays though, it's a decent enough read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew William

    Great book about the American college experience. So true in so many ways!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Very well articulated articles on the challenges of higher education in the 21st century. Great article by Frank Deford on athletics and Murray Sperber on professorializing to a class of 600 students.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    A provocative conversations starter EAF 564

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Excellent (if depressing) account of higher education in the United States.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Spencer Atkinson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joe Manko

  9. 4 out of 5

    T

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Keith

  13. 4 out of 5

    Larry LaForge

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leah

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  16. 4 out of 5

    Larry

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katy

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Coble

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jal

  20. 4 out of 5

    Damon Blue

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gary Kirk

  22. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Fewston

  23. 5 out of 5

    Astrid Soria

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

  25. 4 out of 5

    Colin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Sharp

  27. 5 out of 5

    Witt Salley

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jd

  29. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Newman

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kim

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