Richard Arum


On his (and Josipa Roksa's) book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses

Cover Interview of February 22, 2011


The significance of the findings on limited learning on college campuses is particularly pronounced given current socio-economic trends.

First, our country faces increased global economic competition.  If our higher education institutions are producing large numbers of students who are not developing 21st century skills—such as the capacity to think critically, reason complexly and write effectively—our future economic competitiveness will potentially be undermined.

Second, if our colleges and universities are failing to instill academic dispositions in students—such as a commitment to reading on a regular basis and to approaching material in a critical fashion—future citizens will be less likely to demonstrate behaviors associated with such traits.

In our current work tracking these students since they graduated, we find large numbers of recent college graduates who report that they rarely if ever keep up with the news, discuss public affairs or participate in informed ways in the democratic process.  Our colleges and universities have a responsibility to produce graduates who can better assume adult roles as economic actors in a globally competitive economy and as democratic citizens involved in shaping the direction of our political system.

© 2010 Richard Arum