Few readers of Academically Adrift have missed the significance of Arum and Roksa’s claims about how little students learn. But too many overlook what they say about how to improve.
“It has been well documented that colleges and universities are substantially failing to effectively educate students.” Meanwhile, research and theory on what actually works “flourish in the scholarship on teaching and learning. . .” (The Manifesto). College teachers can make a difference when they engage with this scholarship. Unfortunately, too few do. To encourage changing that, we present our infographic: “Grow the 8%.”
To say the least, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa have made waves in higher education with their book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010), a national, longitudinal, quantitative study of student learning in the first-two years of college in the U.S. The question driving the study is: “How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education?” The overarching finding is unsettling. “The answer for many undergraduates,” Arum and Roksa conclude, “is not much” (p. 34).
In Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2007), Derek Bok, former president of Harvard and namesake of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, argues that the current learning crisis is at least in part an identity crisis. We need to think long and hard about the purposes of college, he argues. While many people focus primarily on one or two aims for a college education, such as “critical thinking” or job preparation, Bok asks us to envision the aims of higher learning broadly and deeply.
With more than 250 books, articles, and other items listed, most with short annotations of one or two sentences, WikiPODia’s Annotated Bibliography on Academic Development in Higher Education presents one of the most impressive lists available of articles and books on teaching, learning, and faculty development.
In their viral video Shift Happens, Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod describe the global, digital twenty-first century world as “exponential.” In other words, with connectivity, information, and global population growing exponentially, the world we live in has shifted drastically—and will continue to shift drastically in the near future. How can we prepare students for that?
Those looking for journals to read or conferences to attend on teaching and learning should consult two impressive lists curated by Thomas Pusateri at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University: Teaching Journals Directory and Teaching Conferences Directory. These “comprehensive” directories include more than 300 items each.