Leaning in to students’ hopes

Among the many books bemoaning a so-called crisis in higher education is one entitled “Academically Adrift” (Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa). When it first came out in 2011, it was discussed at just about every higher education conference. The authors argued that university students in general seem not to be learning as deeply nor as broadly as their predecessors. Everyone, it seems, was to blame: parents too focused on credentials; students too focused on social life; faculty too focused on research; and administrators too focused on rankings and budgets. No one, they claimed, is really focused on learning anymore. Students are left without a compass, it seems, academically adrift in a boat without a rudder. Even more so during COVID times, it may seem that institutions and students have lost their way.