Undergraduate Education

The Poor and the Rich: A Look at Economic Stratification and Academic Performance Among Undergraduate Students in the United States

John Aubrey Douglass
Gregg Thomson

A number of national studies point to a trend in which highly selective and elite private and public universities are becoming less accessible to lower-income students. At the same time there have been surprisingly few studies of the actual characteristics and academic experiences of low-income students or comparisons of their undergraduate experience with those of more wealthy students.

Beyond the Ivy Islands: Building Undergraduate Teaching Muscle in Public Universities Without Detracting from Research, by Steven G. Brint

Steven G. Brint

Reviewing Andrew Delbanco’s new book, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, this paper explores the current shifts in the college model—particularly those occurring at overstressed public campuses—and offers suggestions for improving teaching effectiveness in “dustbowl” classrooms to avoid the progressive mechanization of the undergraduate curriculum over the next decade and a growing exodus from public universities to online colleges-in-name-only.

The Goals of Transnational Education: Reflections of a True Believer, by Jeffrey S. Lehman

Jeffrey S. Lehman

Transnational education can both improve the lives of the students who experience it and also increase cooperation and reduce conflict across cultural lines. The value of transnational education is more apparent when one considers how, in a radically transformed twenty-first century, students need to develop a special set of nine essential qualities: curiosity, empathy, skepticism, logical thinking, patience, creativity, scientific literacy, effectiveness across cultural boundaries and multilingualism.

Undergraduate Research Engagement at Major US Research Universities, by John Aubrey Douglass and Chun-Mei Zhao

John Aubrey Douglass
Chun-Mei Zhao

Bolstered by the recommendations of the 1998 Boyer Report, US federal agencies have put significant resources into promoting opportunities for undergraduates to engage in research. American universities and colleges have been creating support programs and curricular opportunities intended to create a “culture of undergraduate research.” Yet our knowledge about the commonality of undergraduate research engagement—how it integrates into the educational experience, and its benefits or lack thereof—is still very limited.

Fostering Global Competence Through Internationalization at American Research Universities, by I. Shcheglova, G. Thomson and Martha​ ​C.​ ​Merrill

Irina Shcheglova
Gregg Thomson
Martha​ ​C.​ ​Merrill

American research universities have recently joined the march for internationalization and now are putting explicit efforts into finding ways to create an international focus. Within a short number of years, missions have been transformed, incorporating elements of globalization. Universities now declare the importance of preparing students to live and work in a multicultural and global world.

Restructuring Engineering Education: Why, How and When? By C. Judson King

C. Judson King

There is strong interest in broadening engineering education, bringing in more liberal arts content as well as additional subjects such  as  economics,  business  and  law,  with  which  engineers  now  haveto  be  familiar.    There  are  also  cogent  arguments  for balancing against what is now the almost exclusively quantitative  nature of the curriculum, adding more elements that relate to the actual practice of engineering, and structuring engineering education so as to provide multiple and later entry points, which should enable more informed career choices and make engineering attra

The Immigrant University: Assessing the Dynamics of Race, Major and Socioeconomic Characteristics at the University of California, by John Aubrey Douglass, Heinke Roebken, and Gregg Thomson

John Aubrey Douglass
Heinke Roebken
Gregg Thomson

The University of California has long been a major source of socioeconomic mobility in California. Data from the University of California’s Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) indicates that more than half the undergraduate students in the UC system have at least one parent that is an immigrant. The ratio is even higher at UC Berkeley. What do such a high percentage of students with recent immigrant backgrounds tell us about the University of California and socioeconomic mobility?

Engineers Should Have a College Education, by C. Judson King

C. Judson King

Many societal trends and needs call for engineers to broaden their outlooks, have more flexible career options, and work closely and effectively with persons of quite different backgrounds. Yet the education and general orientation of engineers have been directed inward toward the profession, rather than outward toward the rest of society and the world. Engineering education should change to create a broader outlook and understanding in graduates and thereby engender capabilities for linkages and more likelihood of advancement into management and/or movement into other areas.

Institutional Versus Academic Discipline Measures of Student Experience: A Matter of Relative Validity, by Steve Chatman

Steve Chatman

The University of California’s census survey of undergraduates, UCUES, presents an opportunity to measure both disciplinary and institutional differences in students’ academic experience. Results from nearly 60,000 responses (38% response rate) from the 2006 administration found greater variance among majors within an institution than between equivalent majors across institutions. Cluster analysis techniques were employed to establish disciplinary patterns, with traditional distinctions between hard and soft sciences generally supported.