Wednesday, May 25

News from the World of Higher Education


Here are some not-so-positive trends that have an impact on the students we minister to and the environment in which they live and we seek to represent Christ …


Some observations on recent college grads in the current economy from HuffPost College:


“A new survey of college graduates from the last five years finds that the Great Recession has hit them hard, forcing them into low-paying jobs often unrelated to their educations and leaving half of them expecting less financial success than their parents.”


* Eighty-three percent of them worked when they were in college … and they're coming out without a great job and with debt.

* The median starting salary for those who graduated between 2006 and 2008 was $30,000. For the 2009 and 2010 grads, it dipped to $27,000. And women graduates continued to make less than men.

* Nearly half the graduates say they're working at jobs that don't require a college education.

* Nearly half say they're subsidized in some way by their parents or other family members.

* About half say they personally don't expect to do as well as their parents. And 56 percent say their generation won't do as well as their parents' generation.


In related news, a survey reported by Time says that 85% of new college graduates move back in with their parents.


This Op-Ed piece from the New York Times discusses how the quality of higher education has been hurt by university and college attempts to appeal to our culture of consumers.


“Over four years, we followed the progress of several thousand students in more than two dozen diverse four-year colleges and universities. We found that large numbers of the students were making their way through college with minimal exposure to rigorous coursework, only a modest investment of effort and little or no meaningful improvement in skills like writing and reasoning.


In a typical semester, for instance, 32 percent of the students did not take a single course with more than 40 pages of reading per week, and 50 percent did not take any course requiring more than 20 pages of writing over the semester. The average student spent only about 12 to 13 hours per week studying — about half the time a full-time college student in 1960 spent studying, according to the labor economists Philip S. Babcock and Mindy S. Marks….


The situation reflects a larger cultural change in the relationship between students and colleges. The authority of educators has diminished, and students are increasingly thought of, by themselves and their colleges, as “clients” or “consumers.” When 18-year-olds are emboldened to see themselves in this manner, many look for ways to attain an educational credential effortlessly and comfortably. And they are catered to accordingly. The customer is always right.”


The drug of choice is on the college campus?  The Harvard Business Review reports that references to alcohol appear on 85.3% of male college students’ Facebook pages.


If you dug into the facts, you would be amazed at the number of incidents on your typical college campus that are alcohol related – from alcohol poisoning to sexual assaults to academic failure. And yet so many adopt a “boys-will-be-boys” mentality – like the parents I saw in a local bookstore, encouraging their 18-year-old freshman son to buy a poster for his dorm room on the “Rules of Beer Pong”, a popular drinking game.


Need more evidence that the answer to our world’s ills isn’t more or better education? USA Today reports that Yale University (one of our nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education) suspends a fraternity for harassment of female students as the university itself is under investigation by federal civil rights officials.

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