Tag Archives: undergraduate

Enter the “BA Lite”: a review of Lowering Higher Education

Lowering Lowering Higher Education book jacketHigher Education: The rise of corporate universities and the fall of liberal education

By James E. Coté and Anton Allahar

Among the books reviewed at this year’s Open Book Session as part of the annual conference of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services were several that painted a rather grim picture of North American higher education. Academically Adrift – making waves in both the U.S. and Canada – has been described as a “damning indictment.”  DIY U argues that the crisis in American higher ed will lead young people to use the ample resources of the web to fill in the gaps left by institutions that simply can’t deliver the experience students expect.

Lowering Higher Education provides the Canadian variation on this ubiquitous theme of declining quality. Authors Coté and Allahar, professors at the University of Western Ontario, gained some notoriety a few years back with their critique of the university system: Ivory Tower Blues. (See CACUSS Reads review.)  Though they had a strong thesis based on both data and teaching experience with their original work, it stank of cynicism.  In Lowering Higher Education, they have not only strengthened their arguments, but they come across as far more concerned than caustic, constructive than cranky. Continue reading

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Post-secondary in peril: why higher ed in Ontario is stuck in the past

Book Jacket: Academic TransformationAcademic Transformation: The forces reshaping higher education in Ontario

Ian D. Clark, Greg Moran, Michael L. Skolnik, David Trick

For the past six years, my beloved institution has been working toward enhancing the undergraduate student experience as its primary objective under the academic planning framework. A couple of weeks ago, I asked a room of about 40 relatively engaged students (residence dons) what they thought the top priority for the University has been. “Increasing graduate enrolment?” Nope. Though that is a newly established objective. “International student recruitment?” A priority, yes. But not the top one. “Research excellence?”  It took about ten tries. Continue reading

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