a lot college presidents don’t care much about students.

Higher education in this country is a mess. Students are paying more and more money, to get taught by adjuncts how to graduate with “job seeking skills.” Job seeking skills are important, yes, but only in conjunction with many other values that are equally (or more) important. Like learning. And finding out what you care about, what you want to do with your life and how best to do it. Which is what I thought college was about. But I’m old fashioned.

I read about higher education issues too frequently, perhaps, but I continually am reminded that too many of our college and universities are not looking out for their students’ education and futures.

So when I saw this over at the Atlantic, Only 65% of College President’s Say It’s “Very Important” that Grads Get Good Jobs,” I waited a second before judging. I thought, well, perhaps a valuableĀ education and completion of degrees were more important to these presidents than “good jobs.” After all, good jobs aren’t everything. But it turns out, about a third of our college presidents just don’t think students are worthy of being valued beyond “somewhat important.”

How else to explain that 37 percent of these presidents think graduation rate is “somewhat important.” Yeah, that’s what you read. Over a third of college presidents say that student graduation is “somewhat important.” Another 37 percent think that tuition rates are “somewhat important.”

So that’s more than a third of college presidents who do not think graduation, tuition, or job attainment are very important concerns. (I’d love to know which 18% said the price of college is “Not Very Important”).

If you are the president of a college, what’s more important than keeping tuition low, so students can actually graduate, and find a job they will care about? (That’s rhetorical, we all know.)

Anyway. Let’s put more money into college athletics. That’s something even my little private D-III institution has found, after extensive internal study, to be an “institutional priority”. I’m sure Bethel can afford it.


2 responses to “a lot college presidents don’t care much about students.

  1. Sorry dude, but I fully disagree with you here. This is more a problem with idiotic polling (god, polling is useless). You give a college president a couple of questions and they fill in answers on a scale and voila you have some damning statistics.
    Think back to your college education. You’ve been blogging about it a lot recently and much of the “quality” you received from your education has very little to do with your job prospects. The two are not mutually exclusive. But if I had to rank what I thought my job as a teacher is it would be: 1) fostering creative/well-rounded thinking, 2) giving people skills/questions/theories of being in the world & these two things are then paired with 3) logistical things such as what does it mean to find a job I care about or how do I get a friggin’ job.
    So the Atlantic (as usual Jordan Weissman does a hack job) misreads the friggin’ results. Almost all of the presidents said that it was a part of the quality, but is it a surprise they checked a 3 instead of a 4?
    Over-reaction from an idiotically flawed poll.

    • That’s fair a point I guess. All polling is limited in its application. And the Weissman piece is pointless (always is); that’s why I reserved judgment until I looked through the polling.
      If the presidents were asked for rankings, like you gave, it would be different. But there is no ranking element of this polling. The participants were not asked to rate the factors in an order of priority. They are asked to rate the factors in importance to an overall QUALITY institution.
      If you can claim graduation, tuition, and job attainment as “somewhat important to the overall quality of an institution,” then I think there’s a serious problem. Because you’re exactly right. They are not mutually exclusive. All three, and many more values, are “VERY IMPORTANT” in making a quality college.
      That every college president does not think so is absurd.

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