News at Smith

Author of Academically Adrift to Speak at Smith on March 9: "What (if anything) are undergraduates learning during college?"

Feb 28, 2012


The Teaching Enhancement Committee at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business invites you to a lecture by Josipa Roksa, co-author of "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses." The event will take place at March 9, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. to noon in Van Munching Hall's Tyser Auditorium.

Roksa and co-author Richard Arum answer the fundamental question posed in their book, "What (if anything) are undergraduates learning during college?" According to their extensive research and analysis, the students surveyed demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills.

"What is even more disconcerting is that students majoring in business, education, social work, and communications had the lowest measurable gains in critical thinking and complex reasoning. Although the authors propose recommendations to remedy the situation, implementation will not be easy. and action is required by all of the stakeholders, including administrators, faculty and students," says Frank Alt, Associate Professor of Management Science and Statistics and organizer of the event.

Roksa is associate professor of sociology and education, special advisor to the provost, and the associate director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education at the University of Virginia. In her research, she has examined to what extent education amplifies, preserves or reduces social inequality. She has aimed to extend the conversation beyond focusing on academics to consider broader social contexts of education. She examined the role of state contexts in shaping access and attainment in higher education, the importance of life course transitions, including work, marriage/cohabitation and parenthood, for educational success, and the role of parenting in fostering academic achievement among K-12 students. Moreover, she has studied not only entry and completion in higher education (i.e., who enrolls and who graduates), but also what happens within colleges and universities, what activities students engage in and how that shapes their learning.

For more information, e-mail Professor Frank Alt at

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.