You're highlighting some of the big differences between research universities and teaching universities. I taught in a community college for 18 years (equivalent to the first two years of college if this term is unfamiliar to you). Our focus was completely on teaching. When new teachers were hired, they went through a three-year tenure process in which a tenure committee frequently observed the new teacher and his/her class presentation, speaking ability, organization, and student reviews at the end of the term. When I was there (I left in '97) about a third of our students were transferring to four-year institutions, and many of the students in my more advanced classes were pursuing engineering degrees. I had many whom I talked to after they transferred who felt they got a solid foundation while they were at my college. Granted that student populations are more diverse, but can you back up your claim that students are more complex now? During the time I taught at the college, I saw the number of remedial math classes we offered continually increase. One term towards the time I left teaching, we were offering 25 different sections of remedial math, in basic arithmetic or pre-algebra. These were classes that the students ostensibly had in about 8th and 9th grades. Regarding the "throughput" of students, there's a huge conflict between pushing students through the pipeline and maintaining standards. For a research institution, having a record of published papers is a priority -- less so in teaching institutions.