College: Learning or Playground?

Maggie’s Farm had a link to an article on the Inside Higher Ed site in on how/why colleges are going for amenities rather than improving academic quality.

“One important implication of our analysis is that for many institutions, demand-side market pressure may not compel investment in academic quality, but rather in consumption amenities,” write the authors, three University of Michigan scholars.

lazy river

As one having to pay for college in the very near future, I’d have to agree.  There are varying degrees of luxury.  For example, the local state university has a lazy river pool.  I guess that works due to our climate.  Plus, it seems fairly modest in design.  Certainly it’s not Disney but it is better than the frigid waters of Lake Michigan offered to me where I went to college.

metro_energy_podHowever, Saint Leo University near Tampa has a new $22 million dormitory which has to be in competition for greatest student appeal.  Why? Well  amongst its arcade, gaming room, and expanse of televisions, it features a nap room.  But not a dark windows-less room with couches smelling of dirty socks and beer used for making out when your roommate is around.  (Did I say that out loud?)

Clearly, This is not your father’s nap room.  The room contains four Metro Nap Energy pods boasting of “ergonomic perfection” and soothing sounds, all designed to “boost their professional and personal productivity while helping them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  It truly looks like something from Star Trek (or Wood Allen’s Sleeper).

As a parent, what do I want?  Challenging professors, meaningful courses designed to be the building blocks for a career as well as encourage thinking, minimal political indoctrination, cutting edge research, and a safe, yet non-sterile environment.  I’m not paying for a 4-5 year recess period or hedonistic retreat to find one’s purpose in life.


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