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Advanced Education Approaches: What’s Not Working, Why, and How Do We Fix it?

Advanced Education Approaches: What’s Not Working, Why, and How Do We Fix it?

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Published by Adrian Wieland
The university experience is changing in many ways, but this isn’t a problem just for the students who attend. This also requires the attention of faculty and university administrators who contribute to the social and intellectual environment in which learning happens. In an essay, anthropologist and Northern Arizona University professor Cathy Small evaluates these newer realities and provides some interesting observations regarding their larger implications on the university system and its approaches towards the development of learning structures and support systems. # Expanding upon her idea, this paper will provide an overview of several related issues. In Part II, the current realities of the university education system will be examined, looking not just at the changes over time of the student populations, but also at the perceived roles of the various players that impact and influence this environment. Part III reviews current academic literature to ascertain what is and what isn’t currently working in the university system and presents the variety of opinions about what should change to make thee system better. In establishing the academic foundation, Part IV will represent the larger policy problem that this measurable shift has created and will highlight several variables that can be mined, as well as discuss areas of institutional review and further study that will be beneficial in the development of future university policies.
The university experience is changing in many ways, but this isn’t a problem just for the students who attend. This also requires the attention of faculty and university administrators who contribute to the social and intellectual environment in which learning happens. In an essay, anthropologist and Northern Arizona University professor Cathy Small evaluates these newer realities and provides some interesting observations regarding their larger implications on the university system and its approaches towards the development of learning structures and support systems. # Expanding upon her idea, this paper will provide an overview of several related issues. In Part II, the current realities of the university education system will be examined, looking not just at the changes over time of the student populations, but also at the perceived roles of the various players that impact and influence this environment. Part III reviews current academic literature to ascertain what is and what isn’t currently working in the university system and presents the variety of opinions about what should change to make thee system better. In establishing the academic foundation, Part IV will represent the larger policy problem that this measurable shift has created and will highlight several variables that can be mined, as well as discuss areas of institutional review and further study that will be beneficial in the development of future university policies.

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Published by: Adrian Wieland on Sep 23, 2011
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Adrian WielandPUBA 601Dr. Brian EllisonMay 3, 2007Advanced Education Approaches: What’s Not Working, Why, and How Do We Fix it?I. IntroductionThe university experience is changing in many ways, but this isn’t a problem justfor the students who attend. This also requires the attention of faculty and universityadministrators who contribute to the social and intellectual environment in whichlearning happens. In an essay, anthropologist and Northern Arizona University professor Cathy Small evaluates these newer realities and provides some interesting observationsregarding their larger implications on the university system and its approaches towardsthe development of learning structures and support systems.
1
Expanding upon her idea,this paper will provide an overview of several related issues. In Part II, the currentrealities of the university education system will be examined, looking not just at thechanges over time of the student populations, but also at the perceived roles of thevarious players that impact and influence this environment. Part III reviews currentacademic literature to ascertain what is and what isn’t currently working in the universitysystem and presents the variety of opinions about what should change to make theesystem better. In establishing the academic foundation, Part IV will represent the larger  policy problem that this measurable shift has created and will highlight several variablesthat can be mined, as well as discuss areas of institutional review and further study thatwill be beneficial in the development of future university policies.
1
Small, Cathy. “My Year as a Freshman: Connections to the Paths Ahead.” Phi KappaPhi Forum. Vol. 87, No. 1: 3-7.
 
II. Current Realities in Higher EducationWhen conceptualizing the university environment it is easy to fixate upon anidealized and antiquated notion of academic life. However, the observations that Dr.Small reported in her research mirror those of several other higher education scholars
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who also find the modern university environment bears little resemblance to these idealsin several key areas.
Student Community Fragmentation:
Despite the best efforts of student affairs professionals, the sheer variety of options within both the academic and socialrealms creates, rather than resolves, the problem of a missing connection to thelarger cultural community of the institution and actually facilitates thedevelopment of smaller social networks of two to six homogeneous persons(generally similar in age, ethnicity, class and nationality) who are connected inreal and virtual space and time.
3
Multiple Pressures and Time Management:
The average student today has to juggle a much greater burden of external responsibility than those of previousdecades. Not only is there more competition for academic resources because of the sheer growth of the average university student body,
4
but because of certain
2
Wilding, John and Bernice Andrews. 2006. “Life goals, approaches to study and performance in an undergraduate cohort.”
 British Journal of Educational  Psychology.
Vol. 76: 171-182. Accessed online: May 2007.www .bpsjournals .co .uTasker, Mary and David Packham. June 1994. “Changing Cultures? GovernmentIntervention in Higher Education.”
 British Journal of Educational Studies.
3
Smith, p. 4.
4
Breland, Hunter et al. March 2002. Trends in College Admission 2000: A Report of aSurvey of Undergraduate Admissions Policies, Practices and Procedures.
 
demographic and policy trends outlined below, part- and full-time employment isincreasingly a necessary component of the college experience. These multipletime demands force students to be practical and efficient in the
 scheduling 
of their courses, rather than concerned with the content or relevance of the courses inwhich they are enrolled.
5
 Academic versus Real World:
There is also a disconnect between the perceivedrelevance of the content of the academic curriculum and the students’understanding of the implications and applications outside the classroom andstudents report they are more likely to value and remember those courses thatwere connected to ‘real world’ applications.
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This poses further problems, asemployers are increasingly frustrated with degree holders who don’t have thecapabilities of deeper analysis and interpretation that are expected to come from auniversity education.
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These contextual realities of the modern university system have developed because of (and sometimes in spite of) changes in other factors within student populations and institutional structures and policies. These commonly understood factorsunderlie the disconnection between the institutional learning practices and the studentsoutlined above. Certainly the change in the demographics of the student population hashad a significant impact. In addition to the significant increase in overall studentenrollment in post-secondary institutions (between 1970 and 1996: 66% increase inProduced jointly by ACT, Inc., Association for Institutional Research, TheCollege Board, Educational Testing Service, and National Association for CollegeAdmission Counseling. Accessed online: May 2007.http :// airweb .org /images /trendsreport .pdf 
5
Smith, p. 5.
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Smith, p. 6
7
Wilding, et al.

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