Monday, January 24

Trends on College Campuses


Below are some items share in the January edition of the Ivy Jungle Network Campus Ministry Update. This is a great resource. You can can subscribe by going to their website. Thank you, Evan Hunter, for putting it all together!


Students Don't Learn Much:  A new book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses(University of Chicago Press), raises an alarm that students show remarkably little learning in their first two years of college, and some virtually no difference in their critical thinking, analytic reasoning and other higher skills over the course of their college career.  According to the study, 45% of students did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning during their first two  years of college.  36% remained at the same level after four years.  Those who did learn, showed, on average, only modest gains after four years.  The authors blame the lack of rigor for the poor performance by students. Students who do learn report high expectations from courses (i.e. 40 or more pages of reading per week and more than 20 pages of writing over the course of the semester). The data shows most students study only 12-14 hours a week, and much of that time is in groups. Students spend 50% less time studying than their counterparts two decades ago. Students in fraternities and sororities show smaller gains in learning, while other extracurriculars (clubs, volunteer opportunities, etc.) show little impact on learning. The authors do not see federal mandates as the solution but challenge the culture of higher education which has moved away from academic rigor. (Inside Higher Ed January 18, 2011)


Addicted (almost) to Self Esteem: A new report shows that college students crave boosts to their self esteem more than any other pleasurable activity such as favorite foods, drinking, sex, seeing friends or a paycheck. The study shows that ego boosts – such as receiving a good grade or a compliment – trumped all other rewards in the minds of college students. The study also measured the difference between liking a pleasurable activity and "wanting" it. In addicts, "wanting" something actually surpasses the addict's level of "liking" it.  In this study, the results showed that college students "liked" all of the pleasurable activities mentioned more than they "wanted" them. However, self-esteem boosts were the activity "wanted' more than any other and whose margins moved closest to addictive patterns. Brad Bushman, lead author of the study, says college students aren't addicted to self-esteem, but they are closer to being addicted to self-esteem than any other pleasurable activity. Their concern lies not in the desire for high self esteem, but the extent to which students might go to obtain their ego boost. (Research News Ohio State University January 11, 2011)


Megathemes of 2010:  In December, Barna published its "megathemes" for the church in 2010. These are not written for college students in particular, but Christian students seem to mirror the broader church in many of these areas.


1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.

2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.

3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.

4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.

5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.

6. The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.


Each of these is not new to campus ministry – and offer unique challenges in how we spur students on to live lives worthy of the Gospel.  ( December 13, 2010)


Any thoughts on these?

1 comment:

blambert said...

1. I agree.
2. Have thought this before.
3. Because of 2 people care mare about their personal solutions to life than pretty much anything else.
4. Goes along with the self esteem thing mentioned in your post
5. Very much so.
6. Invisible to whom? Christianity may still be influencing people, but they, those who are being influenced, don't make it know as they used to, like in the Bible. Perhaps it's because of #2 that influence isn't very obvious anymore.