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The Decline of College Institutions in America

The Decline of College Institutions in America

In his article, ”The Decline of the Knowledge Factory: Why our colleges must change”, the author, John Tagg, is explaining how colleges in today’s society are neglecting the undergraduate education. Tagg claims that people are sending their children to college to learn and prepare for their future careers; however, the amount of learning is astonishingly low. Tagg feels that American colleges are failing because they have become more interested in the number of credits students have than in what they learn. The mission of the colleges in current system is to offer more classes to more students. In any college in American society today, the essential meaning of “being a student” is accumulating the total credit hours. And I completely agree with Tagg’s arguments.

Tagg is right to say that “the ‘atom’ of the educational universe is the one-hour block of lecture and the ‘molecule’ is the three-unit course”, and that therefore “the essential meaning of ‘being a student’ is accumulating credit hours” (Tagg 624). Today’s colleges have developed as a part of a nation wide system of higher education, and hence they have become nearly interchangeable. The essential mission of today’s colleges has come to be just to offer classes instead of learning. Nowadays, students are more interested in “finishing up the credit hours” instead of actually learning the course material. “What the student does in the class room, what the teacher does in the room, what they think after they leave the room – these things are irrelevant to the academic credit…” (Tagg 625). The interest student has in the subject does not count towards his final grade. The only thing that counts at the end is if the student attended the class and the grades he scored on the tests.

Another reason why education is lacking at the college level is because of the fact that senior professors are becoming increasingly involved in various researches funded by the university. This involvement in research takes the senior professors away from the classrooms and replaces them with people less qualified to teach the undergraduate students. “Academic departments have achieved the ‘best’ of both worlds by hiring large number of graduate students or part time instructors, at low salaries and often with no benefits, to teach undergraduate courses, while freeing up senior faculty for research activities” (Tagg 626). This is fairly...

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