Our universities: Why are they failing?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analyzing modern research papers devoted to assessment of the situation in higher education, Grafton discusses efficiency of learning in American colleges and universities. He groups the books and papers into two categories. The first set includes blasts and attacks on professors and administrators based on individual experience, while works of the second set are seriously researched and focus on particular aspects of the system. Authors of the first group rightly point out that faculty professors are largely mistreated, while numbers of administrators are growing too quickly, pushing up the cost that students and their families pay without enhancing the academic side of their experience. However, most conclusions are groundless and based on individual experiences which do not reflect the global aspects of university life. Grafton is mostly focused on analyzing studies of the second category. He describes defects of higher education: education quality has been declining; students have no particular interest in their courses; traditional subjects and methods have a higher educational value than new ones; American higher education has no comparable system of assessment; the sideshows (such as competitive sports) have taken over the big tent; unemployment among graduates has been rising-as have rates of student loan default. To achieve more efficiency in higher education research, Grafton recommends avoiding monocausal explanations while analyzing work and studies in university and presenting well-grounded analysis results in a form comprehensible to various categories of people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-284
Number of pages12
JournalVoprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


  • Bachelor's programmes
  • Education quality
  • Higher education
  • Public university


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