COLLEGE: The Undergraduate Experience in America by Ernest L. Boyer

COLLEGE: The Undergraduate Experience in America

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Having analyzed American secondary education four years ago in High School, Boyer now turns his attention to the nation's undergraduates. As president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and former US Commissioner of Education, Boyer has summarized the findings of a team of 16 experts who were sent to 29 liberal arts and comprehensive colleges, doctorate-granting institutions and research universities across the country and drawn on these findings to formulate recommendations for revising educational policies and scholastic expectations. The result is a sometimes predictable, sometimes surprising, but always cogent survey of the state of the nation's higher education. During the course of its investigations, Boyer's team queried 5,000 faculty members and administrative personnel and 4,500 undergraduates, plus more than 1,000 high-school seniors. What came to light was such information as the to-be-expected finding that today's college students are more career-oriented than ever before and the less widely recognized fact that the much-vaunted (and greatly feared) SAT tests are largely disregarded by college admissions officers in their selection process. es (despite a thriving industry that provides books, seminars and tutorial services). Boyer organizes his material with a sure hand, outlining eight areas of concern: the discontinuity that exists between secondary and higher education; confusion over goals, both among college policymakers and students; divided loyalties and competing career concerns within college and university faculties; conformity vs. creativity in the classroom; the lack of integration of academic and social activities on campus; disagreements as to college government; the final overall measurement of the quality of higher education today, and the isolation of many colleges from the larger world outside. Boyer and his team investigate these compelling matters in a sensitive and straightforward manner, never falling into educational jargon. It is to be hoped that their recommendations will be taken seriously and acted upon by the American scholastic establishment. An important and eminently readable study, sure to be of interest and value to educators as well as students and their parents.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Harper & Row