Students Must Demand Change

Many people – administrators, faculty, students, parents, employers – are far too accepting of poor teaching in higher education. This situation has gone uncorrected for years and years. Students, being the most affected stakeholder, should demand better. But they do not. Why? Perhaps it is because they feel faculty and administrators are indifferent to their concerns, or they prefer to remain focused on the goal: graduation. Whatever it may be, the typical result is slow or no improvement in teaching.

Surely students are frustrated with the quality of their education. But, are they finally ready to do something about it? Are they ready to become activists to bring about positive reforms?

byteaching_welearnI would like to see students become more responsible for their own education, and I would like them to articulate the high-level outcomes that they desire from higher education. In particular, I would like to see students create a student-led movement that identifies the changes that are needed in teaching – from both classroom (and online) and policy perspectives – and organize in creative, peaceful ways to protest and pressure administrators and faculty to make those changes become reality – either on the basis of an individual institution or more broadly across all higher education institutions.

How would faculty and administrators react to a student-led movement to improving teaching? Probably not well, because it threatens the status quo. But, that reaction would inform students that their movement is exactly what is needed.

They would surely find partners in the process, such as myself, and perhaps you as well, to help make positive change and an enduring commitment to continuous improvement come about.

Read: “Better All The Time” by James Surowiecki (The New Yorker, 10 November 2014)

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