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ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES AND THE UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE: Rethinking Bok’s “Underachieving Colleges†Thesis

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  • Steven Brint and Allison M. Cantwell

Abstract

Using data from the 2008 University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey, we show that study time and academic conscientiousness were lower among students in humanities and social science majors than among students in science and engineering majors. Analytical and critical thinking experiences were no more evident among humanities and social sciences majors than among science and engineering majors. All three academically beneficial experiences were, however, strongly related to participation in class and interaction with instructors, and participation was more common among humanities and social sciences students than among science and engineering students. Bok’s (2006) influential discussion of “underachievement’ in undergraduate education focused on institutional performance. Our findings indicate that future discussions should take into account differences among disciplinary categories and majors as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Brint and Allison M. Cantwell, 2011. "ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES AND THE UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE: Rethinking Bok’s “Underachieving Colleges†Thesis," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt83q89897, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:cshedu:qt83q89897
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    1. Philip Babcock & Mindy Marks, 2011. "The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 468-478, May.
    2. Martins, Pedro S. & Walker, Ian, 2006. "Student Achievement and University Classes: Effects of Attendance, Size, Peers, and Teachers," IZA Discussion Papers 2490, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
    4. Jeffrey S. DeSimone, 2008. "The Impact of Employment during School on College Student Academic Performance," NBER Working Papers 14006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Charles L. Ballard & Marianne F. Johnson, 2004. "Basic Math Skills and Performance in an Introductory Economics Class," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 3-23, January.
    6. Brint, Steven & Allison M. Cantwell & Robert A. Hannerman, 2008. "Two Cultures: Undergraduate Academic Engagement," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt53g8521z, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    7. Philip Babcock, 2010. "Real Costs Of Nominal Grade Inflation? New Evidence From Student Course Evaluations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 983-996, October.
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    Education;

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