The Great Rip-off in American Education: Undergrads Underserved

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Prometheus Books, 2004 - Education - 231 pages
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This hard-hitting critique will serve as a wake-up call to university administrators and faculty, as well as to the average parent or prospective college student facing ever- increasing tuition costs.

While reports of poor teaching at the elementary and secondary school level have unleashed widespread public outcry for reform, little attention has been paid to the quality of teaching in colleges and universities. Yet according to the National Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University, "universities have too often failed, and continue to fail their undergraduate populations," and "the students paying the tuition get, in all too many cases, less than their money's worth."

Citing this report and other similar studies, experienced university administrator Dr. Mel Scarlett criticizes the deficits of the current undergraduate educational system and suggests improvements that would ensure that college students get the education they're paying for. Among his suggestions for reform are:

*Renewed emphasis on teaching skills in Ph.D. programs to ensure that those who do teach have some pedagogical training besides their special expertise

*The more active role of experienced professors in the teaching of undergraduates to reverse the current trend of using graduate assistants or part-time faculty to teach lower-level courses

*Encouraging students' active participation in the learning process as opposed to the passive learning model of the lecture method

*An adjustment of the university's publish-or-perish reward system, which stresses research and ignores teaching.

Dr. Scarlett lists a total of 20 "deadly sins" committed by universities against undergraduates and 80 improvements that would help to reform the current inadequate higher educational system.

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The Great Rip-Off in American Education: Undergrads Underserved

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The U.S. education system had a wake-up call two decades ago with the publication of Rudolf Flesch's Why Johnny Can't Read and A Nation at Risk, produced by the National Commission on Excellence in ... Read full review


What If?
The Boyer Commission Report

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About the author (2004)

Mel Scarlett (Murfreesboro, TN), who holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education, is president emeritus of Middle Tennessee State University. He has been involved in higher education as a professor, dean, president, and consultant for over forty-five years.

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