The Likelihood of Higher-Education Reform

Lindsay, Thomas
June 2013
Society;Jun2013, Vol. 50 Issue 3, p236
Academic Journal
Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind (1987) and Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's Academically Adrift (2011) stand as bookends. Between them rests a generation of college graduates. Together, they chronicle the crisis in higher education. This paper argues: (1) Adrift's employment of the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) may serve in part to corroborate Bloom's contention that popularized moral and cultural relativism have devitalized the love of learning. Students stripped in such fashion might be expected to show little increase in the general collegiate skills that the CLA measures and on which basis Adrift critiques higher education. (2) Adrift may be taken to support Bloom's case that the higher-education reform that matters most is restoring a required core curriculum consisting of common courses in the sciences and liberal arts. The paper concludes with some reflections on the limits and possibilities of the reforms pointed to by the two books.


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