In Defense of American Higher Education by Philip G. Altbach, Patricia J. Gumport, D. Bruce Johnstone

By Philip G. Altbach, Patricia J. Gumport, D. Bruce Johnstone

The present period in greater schooling is characterised through elevated desire for responsibility and financial constraint coupled with calls for for elevated productiveness. better schooling is predicted to satisfy the call for of fixing pupil demographics, in addition to requests for study and repair from govt and undefined. to maintain the academy's skill to satisfy those calls for, the editors and individuals to this quantity argue that, whereas switch is inevitable and fascinating, any radical changes to the practices that experience proven and upheld the distinction of upper schooling within the usa has to be rigorously considered.The editors and members cherish the simplest beliefs of upper schooling: educational freedom, dedication to either inquiry and instructing, and maintenance of an independence of brain and spirit within the face of exterior pressures. even as, the authors of those essays additionally replicate upon the issues of upper schooling, together with difficult ancient legacies equivalent to racism, sexism, and anti-semitism. In safety of yank larger Education is a cautious research of what we've inherited, undertaken with a severe eye for confident reform. will probably be of curiosity to an individual desirous about the way forward for American greater education.

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And the fourth and final priority, should time permit, is saving the passengers. Aside from penalizing the students and diminishing academic quality, this approach has another problem: it doesn’t save enough money. This realization has caused institutions of higher education to attempt a third response: choosing priorities—defining areas central to an institution’s mission and then identifying more marginal activities that could be reduced or eliminated. The usual mechanism has been to create an 87-member strategic planning committee that after two years of weekly meetings manages to select for cutting one program, one with no new students in three years.

More development staff were hired to raise more money. More student affairs professionals were hired to reduce attrition. And more finance staff were hired to control spending. Higher education quickly found that this course of action only increased costs. It didn’t produce more revenue. The second response was to cut costs around the edges—that is, make across-the-board budget cuts, impose hiring freezes, and defer maintenance. The stated goal for these actions was to preserve institutional quality, staff morale, and student access.

What this means is that higher education is not as central to the lives of many of today’s undergraduates as it was to previous generations. Increasingly, it is just one of a multiplicity of activities in which they are engaged every day. For many, college is not even the most important of these activities. Work and family often overshadow it. In a national study I conducted of undergraduate attitudes and experiences between 1992 and 1997, older, part-time, and working students, especially those with children, often said that they wanted a new type of relationship with their colleges, different from what students historically have had.

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