Inconvenient Truth #5 Undergraduate Students Are Often NeglectedThere's no question that this is probably true at top-shelf research institutions. In grad school I saw excellent (and well-funded) researchers who couldn't teach with anything resembling competence sail through the tenure process. But saying that this is a problem with American higher education generally is like saying excessive speed is characteristic of the Italian auto industry. That Bugatti Veryon may break 260 miles per hour, even with James May behind the wheel. But a total of 300 were ever made. The run-of-the mill Fiat? Not so much. Admit it: that Alfa Romeo sitting in the garage isn't even running.
And that's where American higher education finds itself as well. Undergraduates may be low priority at Ph.D.-oriented institutions. But according to the Carnegie Foundation's classifications, those make up only 15% of primarily 4-year institutions. If the remaining institutions are giving undergraduates short shrift, who are they paying attention to? It surely isn't research: in 2000, despite making up more than three-fourths of the institutions that received federal research grants, non-research/doctoral institutions received only 15% of grant money.