The Higher Education Learning Crisis

University of Denver graduates celebrate by throwing caps in air; journalism class at University of Missouri with more than 150 students

Reading, thinking and writing allow individuals to magnify their influence, noted 20th century writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley. Society expects education to open opportunities for students to improve themselves and their societies, and yet there is a crisis in American undergraduate higher education as students simply do not learn, explain Richard H. Hersh and Richard Keeling. Hersh, formerly president of Trinity College and Hobart and Smith Colleges, now teaches at Yale, and Keeling is president of Keeling & Associates, a higher education consulting practice. “Other countries have increasingly emulated American universities because of prestigious worldwide rankings, but such emulation may be hollow as rankings are based on scholarship and research prowess, measured by numbers of publications and scholarly citations, not undergraduate learning,” they write. “Too many graduates are not prepared to think critically and creatively, speak and write cogently, solve problems, comprehend complex issues, accept accountability, take the perspective of others, or meet employer expectations.” Hersh and Keeling urge faculty and students alike to embrace the ongoing cumulative and collective nature of higher learning while constantly aiming for higher standards of competence. – YaleGlobal