SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Struggle To Reform Our Colleges

. 9780691177472. Davidson, Cathy N. .The New Education: How To Revolutionize the University To Prepare Students for a World in Flux. Basic. Sept. 2017. 336p. notes. index. ISBN 9780465079728. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780465093182. ED
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OrangeReviewStarThese two books by education experts present the actual strengths and weaknesses of higher education today and provide complementary recommendations for needed improvements. Bok (president emeritus, Harvard Univ.; Higher Education in America) emphasizes increasing the number of college graduates and improving the quality of their programs, focusing on the institutional environment and how state and federal government, foundations, accreditors, and the institutions themselves contribute. He stresses the need for increased financial and academic support for students and investment in faculty to strengthen teaching and the curriculum.Davidson, a longtime faculty member at Duke University and now director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, asserts the value of developing innovative, student-centered teaching. She analyzes the potential and limitations of technology and argues convincingly that the cost of tuition at public colleges has risen mainly because of declining appropriations from state governments. Both authors assert that although preparation for careers has to be part of higher education goals, the foundation for satisfying careers and lives is a broad-based, interdisciplinary program for all students beyond any specific technical skills. They call for American society and governments to invest in higher education for today's students as they did with the GI Bill after World War II. These books clearly analyze the current challenges to student success, countering much of the glib criticism and articulating essential characteristics of educational achievement, with Bok focusing on the roles of universities and government officials, and Davidson describing the innovative teaching and learning skills required for the 21st century.
VERDICT Highly recommended for educators, legislators, parents, and students.

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