Authors of 'Academically Adrift' to speak Monday on campus

Forty-five percent of students show no significant improvement in learning during the first two years of college, according to Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s findings.

Arum and Roksa, co-authors of "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses" will speak to the Central Michigan University community Monday.

The first presentation will be at 1 p.m. in the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium and the second will be in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium at 7 p.m. Arum, a professor at New York University and Roksa, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, will discuss their findings of academic performance.

Merlyn Mowrey, associate professor of religion and an event organizer, said this will benefit students and help them understand how this problem has evolved.

“This isn’t a problem of a bunch of lazy students … the problem is a small part of a larger problem,” Mowrey said.

Arum and Roksa's findings also show after four years, 36 percent of college students show no significant improvement.

The Teaching and Learning Collective initially got the plan going for the presentation on campus, Mowrey said. Co-founders of the TLC include Mowrey and English professor Marcy Taylor.

The Provost's office provided the finances for the event and is one of the co-sponsors.

Provost Gary Shapiro said the two authors are being paid $3,500 each.

“I believe this is a topic of interest to the campus community and (I) anticipate a large turnout,” Shapiro said in an email.

He also said he wanted to thank the faculty in TLC who brought the topic to his attention, and was happy his office could help facilitate it.

Taylor said the findings from the book will be used to localize the topic to CMU to improve student learning.

“We need to change the culture of the university,” she said.

Mowrey said the earlier presentations will be geared specifically toward students.

“(It will) look at what’s been happening with students and what the problems are and what some solutions would be,” she said.

Taylor said students can see where they should be demanding more from their courses and institution.

“I hope the event sparks a conversation that continues,” she said.

Mowrey said in the evening the co-authors will look at the overall impact of their findings in the book.

“That will address things like larger cultural issues, administration priorities, faculty, students and social life on campus," she said. "It’ll be a much more complex mix.”

Along with TLC and the Provost's office, the event's sponsors also include the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Faculty Center for Innovative Teaching, who both promoted the event.


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