I read about it first here: Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis, so the book isn't out of the realm of possibility. The characters, eventually, become likeable, or at least you care how it all turns out. They were fleshed out much better in the second half of the novel. It was worth reading.
Some of the issues in university education:
- The dumbing down of a university education
- The sense of entitlement students feel
- Disengagement of learners
- Accessibility vs. suitable student material
- Student attitudes towards their rights and/or responsibilities (i.e., "It's not my fault!")
- The expectations of high marks for low quality, low quantity of work
- The lack of a work ethic: wait'll you hit the real world!
- The criminal number of part-time instructors, rather than the hiring of full-time (and more costly) Ph.D.s
- Large class sizes held in small rooms, especially in Faculties of Education when hands-on learning and exemplary curriculum practices should be modelled, but it is not
- The complicity of university powers-that-be who demand that professors pacify students to keep enrollment high
- You won't be certain of a free ride (or a $50,000 starting salary) upon graduation
- Teachers, especially WASP high school guidance counsellors, who are university snobs (universityism?) and believe it is the only way to go (sort of a reverse, theoretically unbiased -ism)
- Policies (adopted from elementary schools) of no-fail, with every student passing
- Grads of on-line courses who really haven't mastered their course material, but faked it!
- Getting bang for your buck
- Misplaced parental influences: parents push and do not listen, they expect their 'gifted' son/daughter to sail through
- A university education in the current climate and job market (Some people should NOT be getting a university education: they are much better suited, and will find more success in college or trade schools but the myth is perpetuated. A university degree is not the only avenue for success.)
There has been an upturn in private, for-profit universities, as well as international high school prep schools. They have been in the news. I believe, according to my experiences, that the issues there are worse than in the non-profit, government subsidized university. Profs have no vested interest in ensuring that students with inappropriate attitudes, or behaviours, are cut from a program.
|Ivory Tower Blues 2007|
|Lowering Higher Education 2011|