Such sentiments suggest either that the courses do not in fact contribute much to the ultimate goals that colleges claim to value or that instructors are not taking sufficient care to explain the larger aims of their courses and why they should matter.Other studies suggest that many instructors do not teach their courses in ways best calculated to achieve the ends that faculties themselves consider important.Although they recognize the existence of problems affecting higher education as a whole, such as grade inflation or a decline in the rigor of academic standards, few seem to believe that these difficulties exist on their own campus, or they tend to attribute most of the difficulty to the poor preparation of students before they enroll.
Better feedback on student papers and exams will be even more important in order to give undergraduates a more accurate sense of how much progress they’ve made and what more they need to accomplish before they graduate.
More Substantial Reforms More fundamental changes will take longer to achieve but could eventually yield even greater gains in the quality of undergraduate education. Colleges and universities need to reconfigure graduate programs to better prepare aspiring professors for teaching.
Universities have already begun to prepare graduate students to teach by giving them opportunities to assist professors in large lecture courses and by creating centers where they can get help to become better instructors.
More departments are starting to provide or even require a limited amount of instruction in how to teach.
Those adjunct instructors now constitute as much as 70 percent of all college instructors.
The multiplication of such instructors has largely been an ad hoc response to the need to cut costs in order to cope with severe financial pressures resulting from reductions in state support and larger student enrollments.
Aspiring college instructors also need to know much more now in order to teach effectively.
A large and increasing body of useful knowledge has accumulated about learning and pedagogy, as well as the design and effectiveness of alternative methods of instruction.
As late as two or three generations ago, majorities of new Ph.
D.s, at least in the better graduate programs, found positions where research was primary, either in major universities, industry or government. D.s find employment in colleges that are chiefly devoted to teaching or work as adjunct instructors and are not expected to do research.