ERIC Number: ED237017
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Jun-23
Reference Count: N/A
Testimony to the National Commission on Excellence in Education. (Public Hearing, Chicago, Illinois, June 23, 1982).
O'Connell, Charles D.
Developments in higher education over the past decade that threaten excellence in education are discussed by a dean of students at the University of Chicago. There has been a tendency to view the chief purpose of all higher education institutions as preparing students for jobs, or for community service, or for some particular societal need. However, there is still an obligation of some colleges to require intellectual mastery from students, independent of social purpose or job skills. The increasing tendency of the state and federal governments not to distinguish among colleges and universities, or between higher and postsecondary education, makes it difficult for the institution that has particular strengths or missions. Claims to special quality are viewed as self-serving and elitist. Examples of such pressures include: attacks on admission testing; the large decline in federal aid to graduate students, based on the argument that the nation has a oversupply of Ph.D.s; and the practice of substituting pass/fail, or no grades, for traditional measures of achievement. In U.S. society there is a preoccupation with quantity rather than quality and innovation rather than progress. It is concluded that if a school does not set its own goals and standards, it will dissipate itself by trying to respond to every issue. (SW)
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A