The following principles are intended as a guidelines for faculty members, students, and administrators. The authors argue that an undergraduate education should prepare students to understand and deal intelligently with modern life. It:
Together, these seven principles employ powerful forces in education:
The authors feel that both teachers and students hold responsibility for improving undergraduate education, and have the power to shape an environment that is favorable to undergraduate education. This includes:
Additionally, the authors argue that administrators can encourage good learning environments in the following ways:
Undergraduate Student Engagement
In "What’s Wrong with Writing Essays," Mark L Sample, writing for Debates in Digital Humanities, argues that as a professor, he is growing increasingly disillusioned with student research papers, as they measures how well a student can conform to the theses/defense of theses model, which can remove complexity, ambiguity, and critical thinking. Additionally, he argues that the chief goal of professors should not be to turn students into miniature versions of themselves, yet that is what undergraduate essay contributes to. He states that at the postsecondary level, the essay has come to symbolize a stand-in for research, revision, and dialogue that scholars engage in, when it usually is an exercise in regurgitation. Sample calls it "a
Sample's own response to addressing this problem as been to integrate public writing into courses, so that students understand that what they think, say, and write matters: to them, to him (the professor or facilitator), to their peers, and to the world. He asks his students to engage with seemingly incongruous materials, developing new ideas.
Sample's arguments echo the Carnegie Melon Boyer Commission.
In 1998, the Carnegie Mellon Foundation appointed a commission to investigate the quality of education that undergraduates were receiving, as there was general concern that post-secondary institutions were producing graduates with bachelor degrees that were ill prepared for the workforce. The Boyer Commission[i] found that in most post-secondary institutions, most undergraduates were not asked to conduct any original research, but rather, were expected to go to lectures where they were passive attendants, and were later asked to regurgitate materials absorbed from these lectures as a form of assessment. The Boyer Commission recommended that there be a shift toward a new model of undergraduate research. Rather than have students be passive – taking in info given to them by faculty, undergraduates ought to be given the opportunity to participate in the process of "inquiry, investigation, and discovery that are at the heart of academia. Additionally, the report argues that undergraduates should be included in the stimulating work of knowledge production. Generally, there is a need to get away from the common belief that students must attain a broad base of knowledge during their undergraduate careers before they can actively take part in "doing" history and that "real" work begins in the graduate school.
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