The Value of Higher Education II
As I noted in his comments, I’m not being dismissive, simply noting that Dean isn’t the target audience of traditional undergraduate programs. Anything aimed at 18-year-olds is going to be irritating to a 37-year-old.
In my experience, the large, lecture-style classes that demand regurgitation of information that Dean complains of are only in the largest universities and mainly in introductory courses. When I was teaching college, I taught all the upper level classes as graduate-style seminars, using roundtable discussion format. Indeed, the only thing I taught using a pure lecture format was the introductory American Government course.
A bright person in his mid-30s trying to return to school for a degree would likely be far better off at a smaller school, a liberal arts college, or a school that mainly offers night and weekend courses because it’s geared to “non-traditional” students.
Dean asserts that,
While America houses some of the best grad schools and research universities in the world, America’s undergrad degrees are increasingly a laughingstock.
Considering that we have people from all over the world coming to get degrees even from the least prestigious American universities, I’m dubious of that assertion. While I agree with Dean that a lot of students who go to college don’t have any business there and that the pressure to graduate them has devalued the process somewhat, our universities are still excellent in any apples-to-apples comparison. Indeed, the same professors that teach our graduate courses teach undergraduate courses.