After having taught a freshman core class at TCU, Chancellor Victor Boschini said he disagreed with a study that concluded students were not learning the writing and cognitive skills needed in their undergraduate years.
Boschini said he felt students learned many different skills, both academically and socially, throughout their undergraduate years and were very capable of writing at the college level.
The study “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” conducted by Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia, was based on surveys from students and results from the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test for critical thinking, reasoning and problem solving.
More than 2,000 undergraduate students across the country took the test, according to the study. It also found that students tended to enroll in courses with fewer reading or writing assignments.
Junior psychology major Drew Taylor said he felt the university helped with written skills through the Writing Center and through professors who meet with students one-on-one.
“I don’t know if all the students I have met really hone in on those skills,” Taylor said. “It has to do a lot with the individual.”
Kenneth Leising, an assistant professor of psychology, said the TCU Core Curriculum is set up so that students have the opportunity to learn the skills they need to move further in their education.
“We have writing emphasis courses that require students to do a great deal of writing,” Leising said. “Within psychology, we put an emphasis on critical thinking.”
According to TCU’s website, each student is required to complete the core curriculum which is made up of three components: Essential Competencies, Human Experiences and Endeavors, and Heritage, Mission, Vision, and Values. These three components, according to the website, give students a broad knowledge of writing and cognitive skills, humanities and fine arts and religious, historical and literature traditions.
According to the study, many students also reported spending more time on non-academic activities rather than studying. It showed that students defined their college experience as focusing more on social activities than on academic development.
Melissa Rhodes, a senior film-television-digital media major, said she felt the productivity of a student’s education was up to each individual.
“There is always going to be the students that take the time and study or the students that don’t and end up dropping out,” Rhodes said. “It depends on whether or not the student chooses to do the work or not.”
Boschini said students should go to college for academic purposes, but also for social aspects because students should develop certain personal skills.
“I think the goal of a good undergraduate education would be that you would learn both inside and outside of the classroom every moment,” Boschini said. “My own bias is what you learn inside the classroom is more important, but I think the other part is also important.”