Don’t just blame the professor

When our favorite sports team wins, we too feel like winners. And when they lose, it’s depressing, and to some fans, their loss is our loss too.

What about the pride we feel in our schools, when they are rated high. Or our membership in clubs and associations which are given good marks.

I’m not feeling so proud today. As a university professor, a report published today through the Associated Press, was very depressing, and I don’t feel like a winner. According to the study, 45 percent of the more than 2,300 undergraduates surveyed showed no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing, by the end of their sophomore years.

Since I don’t teach Freshmen or Sophomores, my classes aren’t part of the study, so I don’t need to feel part of the blame. Right? WRONG. I teach, and just as those professors whose classes were part of the study, I must take responsibility for my part in the outcome of the final undergraduate education a student receives in my university. A co-author of the study stated:

It’s not the case that giving out more credentials is going to make the U.S. more economically competitive…It requires academic rigor…You can’t just get it through osmosis at these institutions.

Being aware of the mistakes being made in universities is one thing. Doing something about it is another. But I have to add one thing, not mentioned in the study. What part do the students play in this educational issue? The students should demand to be prepared better. How?

First, by demanding more of themselves.

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