Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Chapter 12- School Daze

  • Do you agree with Boethius about the place of the liberal arts in a civilized education? 191 Does Higher Ed, generally (if we judge by current trends)? What do you think of the present emphasis on "student success" defined in terms of the rate and rapidity of graduation?
The concept of student success in America is an interesting concept. It amazes me and possibly others that now we focus on the graduation rates of students. Where did this concerted emphasis come from? Why all the emphasis on graduation & retention rates now? The simple answer lies in the hands of state legislatures around the country.
In 2010, the Tennessee State Legislature passed the Complete College Act. This act moved the state funding formula from admission and enrollment statistics to graduation and retention rates. The emphasis on educational outcomes forced MTSU and other state colleges & universities to recommit themselves to the idea of student success (MTSU). Thus, state colleges & universities in Tennessee find themselves engaged in an uphill battle to greater shape and educate the minds of 17 to 22-year-old college students.
I am of the belief that this renewed interest in student success from some colleges is not a genuine interest in human success. The true success of college is about establishing a foundation for critical thinking and open, honest conversation. This new emphasis strips students of their youthful “free will” (Herman 191). Coincidently, more states are providing state-based scholarships to help make college affordable, but the rising costs of higher education further contribute to the impediment of student success.

I am all for student success, but not at the cost of the success of the student. 


  1. I entirely agree, Brandon. I see our funding formula as one more instance of William James's "bitch-goddess 'success'..." It took me five years to get my undergrad degree, because I switched my major in my junior year to Philosophy. Nobody tried to discourage me from doing that on the grounds that it would impede my success as a student. In fact it enabled me to discover my vocation.

    So, I always advise students to take as much time here as they need to be truly successful in life.

  2. While I agree that colleges create a success plan that appeals to the greatest number of people, and this one size fits all approach marginalizes several people and "pidgeon holes" several students based on retention rates and income for the university, I disagree also because the idea is noble. Even if it is unsuccessful it is still the best method of creating a more equalized climate for all students. A best guess to create success is better than no guess at all. This emphasis allows for a focus for students who may not have one. Policies and plans to increase retention rates and promote more success for students is better than not having students at all.