Can’t or Won’t: The Culture of Helplessness. We might provide the most detailed of instructions, but students will still find a reason to challenge those instructions as inadequate and shift the responsibility of the work to us, writes Lori Isbell. She reports about the increasing “helplessness” of our students and their tendency to send emails and text messages of all sorts with the most basic questions about the most obvious matters. It is a helplessness, I believe, that is part feigned and part real, but nevertheless it is a problem that is eroding academe. Students and faculty then bat back and forth of who is responsibility for the clarity of a task. Yet that is not necessarily because the students lack academic ability -- although that may be true as well at the community college level -- but because they lack academic agency, it seems. They are unable or unwilling to recognize their own role in developing college skills, in earning a college education.