Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More - New Edition

Princeton University Press
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Drawing on a large body of empirical evidence, former Harvard President Derek Bok examines how much progress college students actually make toward widely accepted goals of undergraduate education. His conclusions are sobering. Although most students make gains in many important respects, they improve much less than they should in such important areas as writing, critical thinking, quantitative skills, and moral reasoning. Large majorities of college seniors do not feel that they have made substantial progress in speaking a foreign language, acquiring cultural and aesthetic interests, or learning what they need to know to become active and informed citizens. Overall, despite their vastly increased resources, more powerful technology, and hundreds of new courses, colleges cannot be confident that students are learning more than they did fifty years ago.

Looking further, Bok finds that many important college courses are left to the least experienced teachers and that most professors continue to teach in ways that have proven to be less effective than other available methods. In reviewing their educational programs, however, faculties typically ignore this evidence. Instead, they spend most of their time discussing what courses to require, although the lasting impact of college will almost certainly depend much more on how the courses are taught.


In his final chapter, Bok describes the changes that faculties and academic leaders can make to help students accomplish more. Without ignoring the contributions that America's colleges have made, Bok delivers a powerful critique--one that educators will ignore at their peril.

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About the author

Derek Bok is President Emeritus and Research Professor at Harvard University and the author of many major books on higher education, including (with William Bowen) The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions and Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education (both Princeton).
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Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Feb 28, 2009
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Pages
440
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ISBN
9781400831333
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / Higher
Education / Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Building on their important findings in The Source of the River, the authors now probe even more deeply into minority underachievement at the college level. Taming the River examines the academic and social dynamics of different ethnic groups during the first two years of college. Focusing on racial differences in academic performance, the book identifies the causes of students' divergent grades and levels of personal satisfaction with their institutions.

Using survey data collected from twenty-eight selective colleges and universities, Taming the River considers all facets of student life, including who students date, what fields they major in, which sports they play, and how they perceive their own social and economic backgrounds. The book explores how black and Latino students experience pressures stemming from campus racial climate and "stereotype threat"--when students underperform because of anxieties tied to existing negative stereotypes. Describing the relationship between grade performance and stereotype threat, the book shows how this link is reinforced by institutional practices of affirmative action. The authors also indicate that when certain variables are controlled, minority students earn the same grades, express the same college satisfaction, and remain in school at the same rates as white students.


A powerful look at how educational policies unfold in America's universities, Taming the River sheds light on the social and racial factors influencing student success.

During the past forty years, thousands of studies have been carried out on the subject of happiness. Some have explored the levels of happiness or dissatisfaction associated with typical daily activities, such as working, seeing friends, or doing household chores. Others have tried to determine the extent to which income, family, religion, and other factors are associated with the satisfaction people feel about their lives. The Gallup organization has begun conducting global surveys of happiness, and several countries are considering publishing periodic reports on the growth or decline of happiness among their people. One nation, tiny Bhutan, has actually made "Gross National Happiness" the central aim of its domestic policy. How might happiness research affect government policy in the United States--and beyond? In The Politics of Happiness, former Harvard president Derek Bok examines how governments could use the rapidly growing research data on what makes people happy--in a variety of policy areas to increase well-being and improve the quality of life for all their citizens.

Bok first describes the principal findings of happiness researchers. He considers how reliable the results appear to be and whether they deserve to be taken into account in devising government policies. Recognizing both the strengths and weaknesses of happiness research, Bok looks at the policy implications for economic growth, equality, retirement, unemployment, health care, mental health, family programs, education, and government quality, among other subjects. Timely and incisive, The Politics of Happiness sheds new light on what makes people happy and how government policy could foster greater satisfaction for all.

The United States has long been a model for accessible, affordable education, as exemplified by the country's public universities. And yet less than 60 percent of the students entering American universities today are graduating. Why is this happening, and what can be done? Crossing the Finish Line provides the most detailed exploration ever of college completion at America's public universities. This groundbreaking book sheds light on such serious issues as dropout rates linked to race, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Probing graduation rates at twenty-one flagship public universities and four statewide systems of public higher education, the authors focus on the progress of students in the entering class of 1999--from entry to graduation, transfer, or withdrawal. They examine the effects of parental education, family income, race and gender, high school grades, test scores, financial aid, and characteristics of universities attended (especially their selectivity). The conclusions are compelling: minority students and students from poor families have markedly lower graduation rates--and take longer to earn degrees--even when other variables are taken into account. Noting the strong performance of transfer students and the effects of financial constraints on student retention, the authors call for improved transfer and financial aid policies, and suggest ways of improving the sorting processes that match students to institutions.


An outstanding combination of evidence and analysis, Crossing the Finish Line should be read by everyone who cares about the nation's higher education system.

Higher Education in America is a landmark work--a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the current condition of our colleges and universities from former Harvard president Derek Bok, one of the nation's most respected education experts. Sweepingly ambitious in scope, this is a deeply informed and balanced assessment of the many strengths as well as the weaknesses of American higher education today. At a time when colleges and universities have never been more important to the lives and opportunities of students or to the progress and prosperity of the nation, Bok provides a thorough examination of the entire system, public and private, from community colleges and small liberal arts colleges to great universities with their research programs and their medical, law, and business schools. Drawing on the most reliable studies and data, he determines which criticisms of higher education are unfounded or exaggerated, which are issues of genuine concern, and what can be done to improve matters.

Some of the subjects considered are long-standing, such as debates over the undergraduate curriculum and concerns over rising college costs. Others are more recent, such as the rise of for-profit institutions and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Additional topics include the quality of undergraduate education, the stagnating levels of college graduation, the problems of university governance, the strengths and weaknesses of graduate and professional education, the environment for research, and the benefits and drawbacks of the pervasive competition among American colleges and universities.


Offering a rare survey and evaluation of American higher education as a whole, this book provides a solid basis for a fresh public discussion about what the system is doing right, what it needs to do better, and how the next quarter century could be made a period of progress rather than decline.

During the past forty years, thousands of studies have been carried out on the subject of happiness. Some have explored the levels of happiness or dissatisfaction associated with typical daily activities, such as working, seeing friends, or doing household chores. Others have tried to determine the extent to which income, family, religion, and other factors are associated with the satisfaction people feel about their lives. The Gallup organization has begun conducting global surveys of happiness, and several countries are considering publishing periodic reports on the growth or decline of happiness among their people. One nation, tiny Bhutan, has actually made "Gross National Happiness" the central aim of its domestic policy. How might happiness research affect government policy in the United States--and beyond? In The Politics of Happiness, former Harvard president Derek Bok examines how governments could use the rapidly growing research data on what makes people happy--in a variety of policy areas to increase well-being and improve the quality of life for all their citizens.

Bok first describes the principal findings of happiness researchers. He considers how reliable the results appear to be and whether they deserve to be taken into account in devising government policies. Recognizing both the strengths and weaknesses of happiness research, Bok looks at the policy implications for economic growth, equality, retirement, unemployment, health care, mental health, family programs, education, and government quality, among other subjects. Timely and incisive, The Politics of Happiness sheds new light on what makes people happy and how government policy could foster greater satisfaction for all.

نال جائزة فراندسون الفضية لعام 2003 لأدبيات التعليم العالي، جمعية التعليم الجامعي المستمر.
نال جائزة أليس ل. بيمن للأبحاث لعام 2004 في التواصل من أجل التطور التعليمي، مجلس تطور ودعم التعليم.
هل يصلح كل شيء في الجامعة للبيع إذا كان السعر جيداً؟ يظهر في هذا الكتاب أحد أهم المدرسين في أمريكا محذراً من أن الجواب غالباً ما يكون «نعم». وإذ يسبر ديرك بروك الجهود المبذولة في الجامعات لتحقيق ربح مالي لا من الألعاب الرياضية وحدها، بل من التعليم والأبحاث أيضاً، وبأرقام متصاعدة، فهو يلقي للمرة الأولى نظرة شاملة على تنامي إضفاء الصفة التجارية في مؤسساتنا الأكاديمية. وهو يبين كيف تؤدي هذه المشاريع إلى إضعاف القيم الأكاديمية الأساسية ويعرض التدابير التي يمكن للجامعات اتخاذها للحد من هذا الضرر.
«إنه متبصر أصيل... بوك واحد من الرجال القدماء البارزين في التعليم العالي الأمريكي»
ـ وارن بينس وستيفن ب. سامبل، لوس أنجلس تايمز.
«لمّاح منصف... ديريك بوك رجل مدرك للأمور، وضع كتاباً عن إضفاء الصفة التجارية في الجامعة الأمريكية».
ـ جوناثان يردلي، واشنغتن بوست بوك وورلد.
«يعرض بوك حججاً قاطعة تلح على إعادة توجيه الجامعات نحو العمل لخدمة غايتها الفريدة دون أن يشوهها تأثير المال الغادر. وهو يزعم أن إبطال هذا الميل المفرط إلى إضفاء الصفة التجارية ليس أمراً متعذر التحقيق».
ـ يو إس إيه تودي.
«يبدأ ديريك بوك كتابه الجديد بكابوس عن جشع الجامعة وفساد الأخلاق. صحيح أن بعض خطط جني المال خيالية، إلا أن الأخطار المتأصلة في الطلب النهم على تحقيق الأرباح ليست بخيالية أبداً، وهو ما يحذر منه السيد بوك».
ـ أنتوني دبليو. ماركس، نيويورك تايمز.
«يطرح كثيرا ًمن الأسئلة الكبيرة المقلقة.. فالجامعات التي تشوه الصلة بين ثقافتها وبين ثقافة العالم قد تعرض قيمها للخطر دون أن تزيد كثيراً في قيمة ما تجنيه من هبات. ومع نشر هذا الكتاب، ليس لجامعات الأمة القول: إن أحداً لم ينبهها إلى الخطر».
ـ ديفيد م. شريبمن، شيكاغو تريبيون.

العبيكان للنشر 

Is everything in a university for sale if the price is right? In this book, one of America's leading educators cautions that the answer is all too often "yes." Taking the first comprehensive look at the growing commercialization of our academic institutions, Derek Bok probes the efforts on campus to profit financially not only from athletics but increasingly, from education and research as well. He shows how such ventures are undermining core academic values and what universities can do to limit the damage.

Commercialization has many causes, but it could never have grown to its present state had it not been for the recent, rapid growth of money-making opportunities in a more technologically complex, knowledge-based economy. A brave new world has now emerged in which university presidents, enterprising professors, and even administrative staff can all find seductive opportunities to turn specialized knowledge into profit.


Bok argues that universities, faced with these temptations, are jeopardizing their fundamental mission in their eagerness to make money by agreeing to more and more compromises with basic academic values. He discusses the dangers posed by increased secrecy in corporate-funded research, for-profit Internet companies funded by venture capitalists, industry-subsidized educational programs for physicians, conflicts of interest in research on human subjects, and other questionable activities.


While entrepreneurial universities may occasionally succeed in the short term, reasons Bok, only those institutions that vigorously uphold academic values, even at the cost of a few lucrative ventures, will win public trust and retain the respect of faculty and students. Candid, evenhanded, and eminently readable, Universities in the Marketplace will be widely debated by all those concerned with the future of higher education in America and beyond.

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