Each fall, I offer diligent readers of this blog some tips to the best books that I’ve read over the past year. My regular review is coming next month. But herewith you get an early bonus: a list of suggested readings that will help you to grasp the breadth of controversy and criticism around American higher education. For the past several years, I’ve pursued a private inquiry into the crisis in higher ed because as an academic leader I’ve seen aspects of the crisis and wanted to make sense of what was going on. Anyone who cares about higher ed should invest time and attention accordingly.
The following 43 books and 21 articles are the unadulterated list of my readings to date, the “full monty,” so to speak. I can’t say that I like or endorse all of these items. But just as you can’t really understand capitalism without knowing its critics, I suggest that you can’t understand what is going on in higher ed without reading across some of the good, bad, and ugly. For many of these items, I offer some highlights and/or memorable quotes to help you anticipate what is inside. Because some of my notes cross-reference other items on the list, I give each book a numbered reference and each article an alphabetical reference. In a future post, I’ll follow up with a synthesis or summary of takeaways from these readings. In a future post, I’ll follow up with a synthesis or summary of takeaways from these readings.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to embark on your own reading program on higher education.
1. Amis, Kingsley, Lucky Jim, New York: Penguin, 1954. A classic satire about faculty politics and the flaws of academic tenure. Memorable quote: “there were compensations for ceasing to be a lecturer, especially that of ceasing to lecture.” (pg. 233)
2. Arum, Richard, and Josipa Roksa, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. The authors present a good summary of evidence for underperformance of American higher education, as indicated by measures such as graduation rates and learning. The focus of the authors’ original research is changes in academic engagement between students and faculty, and in instructional climates–think of metrics such as numbers of meetings of a student with a professor or of the number of hours studying per week or the number of pages of required writing or reading per course. Memorable quote: “when faculty have high expectations and expect students to read and write reasonable amounts, students learn more. In addition, when students report that they have taken a class in which they had to read more than 40 pages a week and write more than twenty pages over the course of a semester, they also report spending more time studying: more than two additional hours per week than students who do not have to meet such requirements. Thus, requiring that students attend to their class work has the potential to shape their actions in ways that are conducive to their intellectual development.” (p. 119) Alexander Astin [A] criticized the study’s statistical techniques and measurement instrument—similar claims could be applied to a broad cross-section of research in the social sciences. It is possible that learning gains are better than Arum and Roksa reported. Even so, the book remains important as an example of statistically-driven criticism of higher education that prompts vigorous and learned debate.
3. Baumol, William J., The Cost Disease: Why Computers Get Cheaper and Health Care Doesn’t, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. This book presents an interesting counterpoint to the assertion that costs in higher education are out of control. Baumol writes, “The cost disease asserts that the costs of health care, education, the live performing arts, and a number of other economic activities known as the “personal services,” are condemned to rise at a rate significantly greater than the economy’s rate of inflation, as indeed they have…This is so because the quantity of labor required to produce these services is difficult to reduce.” (p. xvii) To present a Haydn quartet still requires four accomplished musicians. Memorable quote: “Not the least of the problems we face is the difficult task of helping the public recognize the difference between the reality and the illusion of the cost disease. For instance, it surely will be difficult to convince intelligent nonspecialists that although costs of personal services appear to be out of control, they are actually falling in terms of the labor-time required to earn enough to pay for them.” (p. 63)
4. Bennett, William J. and David Wilezol, Is College worth It? Nashville: Nelson, 2013. The average results of high ROI from a college education mask the fact that the returns are asymmetrically distributed: students who attend elite schools really do benefit from a college education; for the rest, the returns are much lower. Taking the premise of asymmetry, the memorable message of this book is: “Two-thirds of the people who go to four-year colleges right out of high school should do something else.” (p. vii)
5. Bloom, Alan, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987. The 1960s and 1970s saw a shift in thinking about college curricula and the general learning experience of higher education. Bloom’s book surveys and strongly criticizes this shift and had a strong impact on criticisms of higher ed in the ensuing decades.
6. Bok, Derek, Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. This is one of the best comprehensive summaries of what ails higher education. Well written, objective, well-documented, empathetic toward higher ed, and yet insistent on a higher standard. Memorable quote: “The good news is that most of the serious deficiencies can be overcome, at least to a significant degree given the will to do so. The bad news is that most of the problems are not being seriously addressed on campuses today, nor will they be until they are correctly identified and clearly understood by those responsible for the quality of teaching and learning in our colleges.” (p.10)
7. Bok, Derek, Universities and the Future of America, Durham: Duke University Press, 1990. Bok considers what universities and the application of science can do to enhance productivity in the economy.
8. Bok, Derek, Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003. Bok addresses “efforts within universities to make a profit from teaching, research, and other campus activities.” Is this necessarily bad? The numerous examples that Bok presents suggest ways in which academia and business collaborate to produce gains for society. But the costs and impact of those efforts are at issue. This is a very well-written and objective assessment of the pros and cons of commercialization. Favorite quote: “Universities share one characteristic with compulsive gamblers and exiled royalty: there is never enough money to satisfy their desires.” (p.9)
9. Bruner, Robert (ed.) Globalization of Management Education: Changing International Structures, Adaptive Strategies, and the Impact on Institutions. Tampa: AACSB, 2011. This study combines field interviews and large-sample surveys to document the extent and trends of cross-border engagement in management education.
10. Brynjolfsson, Erik, and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a time of Brilliant Technologies, New York: Norton, 2014. Memorable quote: “Technological progress is going to leave behind some people, perhaps even a lot of people, as it races ahead. As we’ll demonstrate, there’s never been a better time to be a worker with special skills or the right education, because these people can use technology to create and capture value. However, there’s never been a worse time to be a worker with only ‘ordinary’ skills and abilities to offer, because computers, robots, and other digital technologies are acquiring these skills and abilities at an extraordinary rate.” (p. 11)
11. Christensen, Clayton M., and Henry J. Eyring, The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out, New York: Jossey-Bass, 2011. This book extends Clayton Christensen’s theory of “disruptive innovation” to higher education. They argue that professors and administrators do not see what is about to hit them in the form of new technology, leaner for-profit schools, demographic change, and changing needs of society. The result is that the dominant model of higher education (the research university epitomized by Harvard) is unsustainable for most universities, who will be displaced by very lean schools (such as BYU-Idaho). Memorable quote: “The burning question highlighted by 2008’s downturn is not whether the great research universities, such as Berkeley and UCLA, and Harvard, are cost-justified, but whether the less powerful ones, which comprise the vast majority, can continue as they have in the past. The schools most at risk are the more than 700 public and not-for-profit universities that grant graduate degrees but are not among the 200 elite research institutions.” (p. 195) The concept of “disruptive innovation” offers valuable insights, yet it has metastasized in popular usage—I recommend reading this book along with a critical review by Jill Lepore [P].
12. Christensen, Clayton M., Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson, Disrupting Class: How disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, New York: McGraw-Hill 2008. This book applies Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation to K-12 education in America. The authors argue that standardization conflicts with the need for customization of the learning experience for students. Technology can help to resolve the conflict: “flip” the classroom so that common material (lectures, examples, didactic material) can be delivered by tablet each evening, and the classroom time can be devoted to working through problems and examples in the presence of the teacher. Memorable quote: “What our studies of innovation show, however, is that a specific type of innovation, which we call disruption, almost always trips up well-managed improving companies. Disruption is difficult because the definitions and trajectories of improvement change. What were valuable improvements before the disruption now are less relevant. And dimensions of the product that had been important become highly valued.” (p. 44)
13. Cole, Jonathan R., The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence; Its Indispensable National Role; Why It Must Be Protected, New York: Public Affairs 2009. Very well written, though self-congratulatory and even nationalistic at times. One of the best rebuttals to critics of American higher education: deeply grounded in the history of universities; extensively documented; highlights major contributions to society; a spirited defense of academic freedom. I recommend it highly as it contains many valuable insights. Resonant quote, “We must fortify and protect our great universities, or, to paraphrase Winston Churchill in another context, we are apt to crumble from within before we crumble from without.” (p. 469).
14. Damrosch, David, We Scholars: Changing the Culture of the University, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995. Wonderfully argued down to an obvious point: universities would benefit from more, rather than less, collaboration. The absence of collaboration is due to the gradual build-up of specialization, arcane research methodologies, and scholarly alienation. Favorite quote: “scholars should be able to do better at working together and at listening to one another.” (p. 186)
15. Delbanco, Andrew, College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. Delbanco decries the vocationalism with which many students come to the college experience. He presents an alternative vision of college as an intense episode of discovery of ideas and ways of thinking. And he argues that access to the true college experience is dwindling rapidly.
16. Edmundson, Mark, Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. An essay on learning in college (not so much about teaching) by a colleague at University of Virginia. He argues that too much of college education is about preparing people to “slide into a social machine and function smoothly with a little application from time to time of the right pleasing grease. Education now prepares us for a life of conformity and workplace tedium…But what we want is real learning–learning that will help us see the world anew and show us that there could be more to our lives than we had thought.” (p xii). His chapter, “A Word to the Incoming Class,” is inspiring and worth the price of the book. So is the chapter, “Glorious Failure,” his convocation address in 2005. Memorable quotes: “The proper business of teaching is change–for the teacher (who is herself a work in progress) and (preeminently) for the student.” (p. 165) And “I’d like us to blow a hole through the university’s ethos of entertainment and training for success and to bury its wearisome work-hard, play-hard frat-boy ideology. We should blast away the customer coddling deans and student service hacks; blast past academic pretension and the hunger for “standing in the field.” Blast university presidents so afraid of offending a potential donor that they won’t raise a word in behalf of social justice or political sanity. Blow away the trustees who think that they’re a corporate board of directors and will not rest until their schools resemble Walmarts. Blast them all. And while you’re doing it, have a good time. Because knowledge is joy. Creativity is ultimate freedom. Real thought is bliss. Sapere Aude, as the old thinker liked to say: Dare to Know; Dare to be Wise.” (p. xiv) Edmundson’s violent imagery (“blast” and “blow away”) suggests the passions that some professors display toward student culture and university leaders.
17. Ginsberg, Benjamin, The Fall of the Faculty: the rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. A polemic against the rise of staff and administration in higher education. Well-documented but suffers a bit from its sarcasm and over-blown style. Memorable quote: “It is because it is such a unique institution that it is so important to save the university from its deanlets. But the rescue mission is belated and not certain to succeed. The blight of the all-administrative university is spreading from campus to campus, from the community colleges to the private research universities, as deanlets copy one another’s best practices, expand their already bloated administrative ranks, and use financial crises to further erode the autonomy of the faculty.”
18. Goldin, Claudia, and Lawrence F. Katz, The Race Between Education and Technology, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008. This book presents an excellent survey of the history and current status of the relationship between economic growth and education. Is the relationship across countries and time between income per capita and education truly causal or merely coincidental? This question is motivated by the observation that growth in educational attainment in America stagnated in the last quarter of the 20th Century–could that be a cause of stagnating economic growth? The authors find a significant association between education and growth in productivity and that the association weakened in the late 20th Century. This weakening is due in part to “skill-biased technological change” and to the changing demand for skills in the economy. Richly documented with original research. Though aimed mainly at K-12 education, the research presented here has important implications for higher education. Memorable quote: “Throughout this volume we have emphasized the existence of an ongoing and relentless race between technology and education. Economic growth and inequality are the outcomes of the contest. As technological change races forward, demands for skills–some new and some old–are altered. If the workforce can rapidly make the adjustment, then economic growth is enhanced without greatly exacerbating inequality of economic outcomes. If, on the other hand, the skills that are currently demanded are produced slowly and if the workforce is less flexible in its skill set, then growth is slowed and inequality widens. Those who can make the adjustments as well as those who gain the new skills are rewarded. Others are left behind.” (p. 352)
19. Graff, Gerald, Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. Very well-written discussion of what should be the aims and activities of a college education. The final chapter, “How to Write An Argument: What Students and Teachers Really Need to Know,” is outstanding. The author’s thesis is that academicians don’t explain themselves very well: academia is different from the rest of society, but for good reasons. Memorable quote: “academia reinforces cluelessnesss by making its ideas, problems, and ways of thinking look more opaque, narrowly specialized, and beyond normal learning capacities than they are nor need to be. As I see it, my academic intellectual culture is not at all irrelevant to my students’ needs and interests, but we do a very good job of making it appear as if it is.” (pg. 1)
20. Hacker, Andrew and Claudia Dreifus, Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting our Money and Failing Our Kids–And what We Can Do About It, New York: Henry Holt, 2010. These authors criticize universities for their rising cost, falling impact, vocationalism, devotion to sports and entertainment, etc.–in all this book is a comprehensive survey, reasonably documented, of the ailments of higher ed. The central thesis: schools have lost their way because of inattention to their core mission. The authors provide a longish list of remedies. Memorable quote: “higher education should be open to every young person, and this is an option we can well afford. We confess to being born-again Jeffersonians: we believe everyone has a mind, the capacity to use it, and is entitled to encouragement. Of course, students have to do their share. But the adults who have chosen higher education as their profession have even greater obligations, which we’re not convinced they’re fulfilling.” (p.3)
21. Kerr, Clark, The Uses of the University, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963. Kerr was an iconic proponent of the enlargement of the “multiversity.” And yet, this former Chancellor of the University of California describes academia as especially hidebound: “Few institutions are so conservative as the universities about their own affairs while their members are so liberal about the affairs of others.” (p.99)
22. Lanier, Jared, Who Owns the Future? New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. Lanier is an extremely thoughtful critic of Web 2.0 and its claims on users. He argues that technology is eliminating the middle class and that academic tenure helps to preserve that middle class.
23. Lewis, Harry R., Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future?, New York: PublicAffairs, 2006. Written by a longstanding faculty member and Dean at Harvard, this book challenges higher education to consider a larger mission, not only to increase knowledge, but to grow wisdom. Lewis sustains the view that teaching is a moral act, which higher education forgot as it evolved. Memorable quote: “over the decades, I have heard many academic discussions about teaching, about the curriculum, about grading, about athletics, and about responding to student misdeeds. I have almost never heard discussions among professors about making students better people. Professors are warned to look for signs of emotional distress in students and to steer them to mental health services. But what most students needs more than psychiatric referrals is help shaping the lives that they themselves, and not their parents, will lead. Presidents, deans, and professors rarely tell students simple truths, for example that the strategizing and diligence that got them into the college of their choice may not, if followed thoughtlessly, lead to an adult life they will find worth living.” (p. xv)
24. Menand, Louis, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University, New York: Norton, 2010. This is an outstanding essay on the “professionalization” of academia: the solidification and subdivision of disciplines and fields; the monopolization of the production of knowledge and even the producers of that knowledge; the surge in government grants after WWII that supported this trend. Menand writes that “Academic inquiry, at least in some fields, may need to become less exclusionary and more holistic.” Fundamentally, this book is about the difficulty with which academia embraces interdisciplinary work–a highly relevant issue to the unfolding debates about the ability of higher education to deliver relevant learning. Memorable quote: after a transformational change in the 1970s, “was clearly a reaction against the model created by the Golden Age and the academic revolution: the model of disinterested research and the great books, or “Western Civ” curriculum. The vocabulary of “disinterestedness,” “objectivity,”‘ “reason,” and “knowledge,” and talk about things like “the scientific method,” “the canon,” and “the fact/value distinction” began to be superseded, particularly in the humanities by attention to “interpretations” (rather than “facts”), “perspective” (rather than “objectivity”), and “understanding” (rather than “reason” or “analysis”). An emphasis on universalism or “greatness” was replaced by an emphasis on diversity and difference; the scientistic norms that once prevailed in many of the “soft” disciplines began to be viewed with skepticism (though a very rigorous skepticism); context and contingency were continually appealed to; attention to “objectives” gave way to attention to “representations. ” (pgs. 80-81)
25. Mettler, Suzanne, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream, New York: Basic Books, 2014. The book argues that political partisanship is killing the historical American value of access to higher education, and the attendant promise of economic mobility and the American Dream. Congress is the villain in her view.
26. Newman, John Henry, The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated. Edited by I.T. Ker. Oxford: Clarendon, 1976. One of the classic expressions of what a liberal education should be.
27. Nussbaum, Martha, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. This book is a defense of the liberal arts in an age of rising vocationalism among students.
28. Pelikan, Jaroslav, The Idea of the University: A Reexamination. New Haven: Yale University press, 1992. A rejoinder to John Henry Newman’s book, Pelikan reviews the concept of the university in light of its new context in the late 20th Century.
29. Ravitch, Diane, the Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, New York: Basic Books, 2010. This is a provocative and penetrating critique of government policy as it relates to K-12 education in America. It is especially relevant to higher education as part of the broader debate about education in America around standards of learning and accountability for results–my hunch is that this debate is headed toward higher ed, if not already there. Memorable quote: “the next wave of school reform is bearing down on us. It will be packaged as the sine qua non of the twenty-first century: online learning…But for most purposes, students need teachers as well as one another. Students require a wise and experienced person who offers encouragement, who presents the subject in a compelling matter, who sets standards of personal conduct, who monitors more than a blinking screen. Minds develop in response to the social interaction of a lively classroom, where learners debate, discuss, and exchange ideas. Some things are best done alone, such as reading, writing, practicing an instrument, and reflecting. Others are best done in groups, such as singing in a chorus, performing in an orchestra, acting in a play, playing team sports, discussing a novel, or debating a historical controversy.” (p. 283)
30. Reisman, David, On Higher Education: The Academic Enterprise in an Era of Rising Student Consumerism, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1980. This book, as the title implies, is a collection of thoughts on the rise of student consumerism post-World War II.
31. Rosovsky, Henry, The University: An Owner’s Manual, New York: Norton, 1990. A classic summary of the view of a powerful insider, a Dean. Must-read for any deanly aspirants. Rosovsky’s view is that excellence is obtained through good governance. The memorable quotes are from Rosovsky’s principles: “Not everything is improved by making it more democratic…There are basic differences between the rights of citizenship in a nation and the risks that are attained by joining a voluntary organization…rights and responsibilities in universities should reflect the length of commitment to the institution…In a university, those with knowledge are entitled to a greater say…In universities, the quality of decisions is improved by consciously preventing conflict of interest…University governance should improve the capacity for teaching and research…To function well, a hierarchical system of governance requires explicit mechanism of consultation and accountability.” (pgs. 262-277)
32. Selingo, Jeffrey, College (Un)Bound: The future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2013. Written for an audience of parents and (prospective) students, this book gives an excellent overview of the crisis in American higher education and its sources–and how a prospective student should be a wise consumer. Memorable quote: “Higher education also suffers from mission creep. Every college has a mission about the students it aims to enroll and the public it wants to serve. But too many colleges, unhappy with their mission, aspire to move higher in the pecking order. Prestige in higher education is like profit to corporations.” (p. 12)
33. Shapiro, Harold T., A Larger Sense of Purpose: Higher Education and Society, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. This former President of Princeton and University of Michigan addresses ethical dilemmas arising from the engagement of universities with society (especially corporate partnerships and sports). Memorable quote: “For the foreseeable future, existing colleges and universities will be faced with the challenge of sustaining society’s most important values, demonstrating sufficient adaptability to fill new and/or modified roles, and exerting sufficient leadership to help society shape new cultural commitments and expand others. Although this portfolio of responsibilities represents a significant challenge for faculty, administrators, and trustees, a great deal is at stake, namely, the continued social relevance of institutions of higher education. If such leadership should falter, it would not be the first time that a significant social institution was replaced, in whole or in part, by other institutions better able to articulate and meet society’s evolving needs.” (p. 11)
34. Sykes, Charles J., ProfScam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education, Washington D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1988. A polemic that marshals an array of research and anecdotes to motivate an agenda. Unobjective and uncritical assessment of the sources cited. Nor does it seek to explore why higher education has evolved the way it has. But this is one of the most highly-cited books by critics of higher education. The author advocates the elimination of tenure, suspension of the research mission, mandating a full(er) teaching load, open disclosure of workloads, and reimposition of the Western Canon of ideas. This, from page 4, summarizes the other 292: ” The story of the collapse of American Higher Education is the story of the rise of the professoriate. No understanding of the academic disease is possible without an understanding of the Academic Man, this strange mutation of the 20th-century academia who has the pretensions of an ecclesiastic, the artfulness of a witch doctor, and the soul of a bureaucrat.”
35. Thacker, Lloyd, College Unranked: Ending the College Admissions Frenzy, Cambridge: Harvard University press, 2004. This is a collection of essays by college admissions directors on the subject of the “admissions crisis”: the rapid commercialization of the admissions process; the influence of rankings; surge in admissions-related spending by institutions; marketing and branding; etc. A sobering representation of a prisoner’s dilemma in higher education: everyone must spend more and compete harder; no one is better off. A quote: “the new obsession with numbers is counter-educational; that it makes for a less educated and less educable kind of student; a less thoughtful, more cynical, more boring, and more exhausted kind of student, not at all the kind of student that colleges on a clear day know they want and need.” (p. 62)
36. Trachtenberg, Stephen Joel, Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks out on Higher Education, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008. A memoir of service as President of a major university: candid, amusing, and sobering–must-read for Presidential aspirants. This book serves as a healthy counterpoint to critics who charge senior administrators with the decline of higher education. Trachtenberg’s view is that oversight of a major university is complex, demanding, and challenging work. Memorable quote: “I often think that presidents of universities are a lot like the untouchables in India. The role of the untouchables is to do the work that must be done but nobody wants to do. Burying the dead and collecting trash are two examples. But because they take on dirty jobs, the untouchables are themselves considered dirty. There are things that have to be done for the benefit of universities, people that have to be seen, and issues that have to be addressed that have nothing to do with you yourself but rather with the office.” (pg. 151)
37. Turkle, Sherry, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, New York: Basic Books, 2011. A provocative exploration of how our devices and computer-mediated communication change social interaction–possibly for the worse. Instructors today will see evidence of these changes in their classrooms and hallways. Turkle writes, “As we instant-message, e-mail, text, and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude…Tethered to technology, we are shaken when the world “unplugged” does not signify, does not satisfy…Does virtual intimacy degrade our experience of the other kind and, indeed, of all encounters, of any kind?” (pgs. 11-12)
38. Veblen, Thorstein, The Higher Learning in America: A Memorandum on the Conduct of Universities by Businessmen, New York: B.W. Heubsch, 1918. Perhaps the earliest expression of opposition to “corporatism” by universities.
39. Vedder, Richard, Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much, Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 2004. This book is a sharp critique of the efficiency of American higher education, supported by careful research and an economist’s rigor. Vedder is quoted frequently in the media. He opposes government support for universities and recommends increasing the student-faculty ratio; ending tenure; increasing the use of part-time or adjunct faculty; and using capital-intensive instructional techniques (such as information technology). Memorable quote: “Why are universities inefficient and costly?…universities operate in a radically different environment than most business enterprises…there are four major reasons for rising costs: third-party providers, the lack of market discipline, ineffective price competition, and government regulation.” (p. 24)
40. Whitehead, Alfred North, “Universities and Their Function,” Chapter 7 in the Aims of Education and Other Essays, New York: Free Press, 1927. This presents a range of insights that have influenced the development of universities for decades since and is an influential essay on the tension between education for mastery versus education to promote imagination, creativity, and innovation. Memorable quote: “necessary technical excellence can only be acquired by a training which is apt to damage those energies of mind which should direct the technical skill. This is the key fact in education and the reason for most of its difficulties.” (p. 96)
41. Wildavsky, Ben, The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Shaping the World, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010. The author documents significant trends in the founding of schools globally, the mobility of students, and the rise of “free trade in minds.” Memorable quote: “The globalization of higher education should be embraced, not feared. The worldwide competition for human talent, the race to produce innovative research, the push to extend university campuses to multiple countries, and the rush to produce knowledgeable and creative graduates who can strengthen increasingly knowledge-based economies–all of these trends are hugely beneficial to the entire world. Increasing knowledge is not a zero-sum game.” (p.7)
42. Wolfe, Tom, I Am Charlotte Simmons, New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2004. A blistering satire about undergraduate life. Both compelling and dispiriting to an educator. Early on, a statement by one of the students sets the tone for the whole spectacle: referring to his fraternity and University he says “it’s a MasterCard…for doing whatever you want…whatever you want.” Pivotal quote: “Charlotte looked at him in a teacherly fashion. “You know what ‘liberal arts’ means?” Pause. Rumination “…No.” “It’s from Latin?” Charlotte was the very picture of patience. “In Latin liber means free? It also means book, but that’s just a coincidence, I think. Anyway, the Romans had slaves from all over the world, and some of the slaves were very bright, like the Greeks. The Romans would let the slaves get educated in all sorts of practical subjects, like math, like engineering so they could build things, like music so they could be entertainers? But only Roman citizens, the free people?–Liber?–could take things like rhetoric and literature and history and theology and philosophy? Because they were the arts of persuasion–and they didn’t want the slaves to learn how to present arguments that might inspire them to unite and rise up or something? So the ‘Liberal’ arts are the arts of persuasion and they didn’t want anybody but free citizens knowing how to persuade people.” Jojo looked at her with arched eyebrows and a compressed smile, a smile of resignation and began nodding, nodding nodding nodding. Dawn was breaking inside that big head of his. “So that’s what we are…athletes–we’re like slaves. They don’t even want us to think. All that thinking might distract us from what we were hired for.” (p. 195-6)
43. Zumeta, William, David Breneman, Patrick Callan, Joni Finney, Financing American Higher Education in the Era of Globalization, Cambridge: Harvard Education Press, 2012. This book considers the financing of American higher education drawing on a perspective of the numerous forces of change bearing on the field.
A. Astin, Alexander, “In ‘Academically Adrift,’ Data Don’t Back Up Sweeping Claim” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 14, 2011. http://chronicle.com.proxy.its.virginia.edu/article/Academically-Adrift-a/126371/#sthash.CXAY77dU.dpuf” http://chronicle.com.proxy.its.virginia.edu/article/Academically-Adrift-a/126371/
B. Barrett, Paul M., “Four Blunt Points About UNC, College Sports, and Academic Corruption,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek, January 20, 2014.
C. Block, Gene D., “Keep public Universities Public,” Time, October 29, 2012, page 44. Memorable quote, “Twenty years ago, tuition at UCLA was $1,624 (or $2,564 in today’s dollars). This year tuition is $12,192. Why has the cost gone up so much? Because…California has slashed per-student spending 60%. Other states have made similar cuts. We’ve cut spending, but beyond that, the only alternative to tuition hikes is to offer fewer courses to a larger number of students–a combination that would likely result in delayed graduations and more-restricted career opportunities.”
D. Botstein, Leon, “Resisting Complacency, Fear, and the Philistine: the University and Its Challenges,” Hedgehog Review July 2013. Memorable quote: “the fact is that an inefficient institution designed to be creative and innovative–which is what universities are–is one for which one has to resist the argument of industrial and bureaucratic rationalization. A university is an irrational place, a messy place; it needs to be defended as such…[But] We have allowed the American university to be a farm team for professional sports. We have not defended the university by its primary contributions to knowledge, culture, and scholarship–even to the economy.”
E. Brooks, David, “The Practical University,” New York Times, April 5, 2013. Memorable quote: “the problem with the current seminars is that it’s really hard to know what anybody gets out of them. The conversations might be lively, but they flow by so fast you feel as if you’re missing important points and exchanges. The goal should be to use technology to take a free-form seminar and turn it into a deliberate seminar (I’m borrowing Anders Ericsson’s definition of deliberate practice). Seminars could be recorded with video-cameras, and exchanges could be reviewed and analyzed to pick apart how a disagreement was handled and how a debate was conducted. Episodes in one seminar could be replayed for another. Students could be assessed, and their seminar skills could be tracked over time.”
F. Carey, Kevin, “Americans Think We Have the Best Colleges. We don’t.” New York Times, June 28, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/upshot/americans-think-we-have-the-worlds-best-colleges-we-dont.html?_r=0
G. Carlson, Scott, “Administrative Hiring Drove 28 Percent Boom in College Work Force, Report Says,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 14, 2014, Pg. A3.
H. Carlson, Scott, “Survey Suggests Colleges Aren’t Ready for New higher-Education Landscape,” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 6, 2013, pg. A2. A report on Moody’s report, foreseeing a decline in net tuition revenue.
I. Chait, Richard P., and Zachary First, “Bullish on Private Colleges: On the enduring Strengths of Institutions of Higher Education,” Harvard Magazine, November-December 2011, pages 35-39. An optimistic outlook for American higher education.
J. Hockenos, Paul, “University Watch’ Scrutinizes Corporate Influence,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 14, 2014, pg. A23.
K. James, William, “The Ph.D. Octopus,” Harvard Monthly, 36 (1903):1-9.
L. Kim, E. Han, Adair Morse, and Luigi Zingales, “Are elite universities losing their competitive edge?” Journal of Financial Economics, Vol 93, Issue 3, September 2009, pages 353-381.
M. Kolowich, Steve, “Colleges’ Doubts About MOOCs Continue to Rise, Survey Finds,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 24, 2014, pg. A17.
N. Leonhardt, David, “Getting Into the Ivies: It’s Harder than it used to be. Colleges are more globalized” New York Times, April 27, 2014,
O. Leonhardt, David, “Is College Worth It?” New York Times, May 27, 2014.
P. Lepore, Jill, “The Disruption Machine,” New Yorker, June 23, 2014.
Q. Marcus, Jon, “Moody’s: College Money Woes are Getting Worse,” Hechinger Report, November 22, 2013.
R. Moody’s Investor Services, “Governance Stress and Economic threats Facing US Higher Education” July 1, 2012. http://moodys.alacra.com/moodys-credit-research/Virginia-Dispute-Highlights-Governance-Stress-and-Economic-Threats-Facing-US-Higher-Education-PBM_PBM143539#sthash.u2Ye6qdy.dpuf
S. Ripley, Amanda, “Reinventing College,” Time, October 29, 2012 p. 41.
T. Selingo, Jeffrey, “The Innovative University: What College Presidents Think About change in American Higher Education,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 2014.
U. Strauss, Ben, “The Big Ten’s Bigger Footprint,” New York Times, December 1, 2013, page 6.