Thursday, June 23, 2005

Declining by Degrees

Just finished viewing "Declining by Degrees," the PBS show on higher education today, with John Merrow. I received the book a few weeks ago, and had read the critical essay in the CoHE that complained that the program was "whining." I disagree, but it is late, so I don't have time to discuss this now.

Right after the showing, I got on to write Merrow about it, and had three messages from one of my higher ed students, who pecked away enthusiastically during the showing. She had hoped that I was watching it...and provided these quotes (thanks, Kate!).

"What worries us is what happens when we look back 10 years from now. Will the higher education system have moved so far as to be something we don’t recognize, something that’s lost the public mission on which it was originally founded?"
Director of Research, The Futures Project: Policy for Higher Education in a Changing World

"You’ve got this mass of people—a substantial number—kind of sleepwalking through college. How can they do it?"
Director, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

"With respect to college, people have thought that there were two important issues: first, getting in and being able to afford college, and second, to finish and have a degree. But very few people have asked the question, What happens in the four or five years in between those two points? And we’re beginning to find out that what’s going on in that black box called college is less than we had hoped; that maybe the ‘higher’ in higher education is lower than we think."
Former President, Trinity College (CT)

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