SUSO forum to discuss effectiveness of college education

A Speak Up Speak Out forum will analyze student success after graduation and how faculty members and students can improve learning all around. The panel will include Richard Arum, who has published books addressing these topics.

The first forum, "How to Make College Work for You," will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22 in Plachta Auditorium. The second forum, "How to Make College Work for Your Students," will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23 in the terrace rooms of the Bovee University Center.

Academically Adrift and Aspiring Adults Adrift, by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, will be discussed in the upcoming forums. 

“There are very few books in higher education that make the news, especially these,” said Meryl Mowrey, professor in the philosophy department.

The books contain extensive empirical data on the success rates of students two years after graduation, and the characteristics correlated with such success. This information was partially gathered through a College Learning Assessment test which evaluates student’s ability to think critically about real life scenarios.

“When you give people adequate ways of thinking, they tend to keep using them, but content is often easily forgotten,” Mowery said. 

She explained how many students coming out of college show a lack of improvement in their reading and communication skills, and how even the ones who perform the best may show very minimal improvement.

Statistically, students who score on the higher end of CLA tend to be more successful in most aspects of their lives two years after graduation, with a higher employment rate, more stable relationships and healthy socialization.