Newman told some faculty members they needed to change the way they think of struggling students. He reportedly said, “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.”No doubt the Perpetually Aggrieved will bring up Mr Newman's past experience at Bain Capital and Cornerstone Management.
And yet, the bull session at Inside Higher Ed's article illustrates that bad faculty morale and catering to unprepared and disengaged students go together. Specifically, less Distressed Material at the loading dock means less revert scrap on the production line. It's probably better to identify the Distressed Material before it enrolls, but if the government counts enrollment at four weeks, there are ways to game the system. Is anybody surprised when such gaming happens?
Stop admitting unprepared people and calling it access. And stop enabling underachievement and calling it retention.
I will continue to fight it out on this line, no matter how many summers it takes.