Alternative Solutions to Higher Education's Challenges: An Appreciative Approach to Reform, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Alternative Solutions to Higher Education's Challenges

An Appreciative Approach to Reform, 1st Edition

By Laura M. Harrison, Peter C. Mather


174 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Moving beyond critique, Alternative Solutions to Higher Education’s Challenges uses an appreciative approach to highlight what is working in colleges and universities and offers an examination of how institutions can improve practice. Drawing on examples and cases from real higher education institutions, this book offers a solution-focused framework that challenges the negative assumptions that have plagued higher education. Chapters explore how current narratives have perpetuated and maintained systematic flaws in our education system and have hindered reform. This invaluable resource breaks from the substantial literature that only highlights the many problems facing higher education today, and instead provides alternative strategies and essential recommendations for moving higher education institutions forward.


"In a time of many reform efforts in higher education, a major challenge today is knowing what to preserve and what to discard. In this book, Harrison and Mather offer an approach to reform that is grounded in the strengths and best practices of contemporary higher education. Their book is a repudiation of those who are obsessed with higher education's shortcomings and a gift to those who are dedicated to preserving and ‘paying forward’ the best of today's higher education."

--Jon C. Dalton, Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Co-Editor, Journal of College and Character, Florida State University

"Harrison and Mather provide a well-thought-out approach for reframing organizational structures and activities within higher education using appreciative inquiry and positive organizational scholarship. This text raises questions we must address at a time when higher education is in need of restructuring and reconceptualization, and it pushes the boundaries of current practices in very meaningful ways. The authors use their own personal and professional experiences to expertly transition from theory to practice."

--Diane L. Cooper, Professor of College Student Affairs Administration, University of Georgia

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Developing a Toolbox for Appreciative Approaches to Change

Chapter 2: Cultivating Organizational Strengths Through Democratic Leadership

Chapter 3: Fostering an Enriching Community Life and Effective Public Service

Chapter 4: Centering Institutional Practices Around Meaningful Student Learning

Chapter 5: Leveraging Liberal Education to Promote Equal Opportunity

Chapter 6: Embracing the Heart in the Head(y) World of Higher Education

Chapter 7: Reclaiming Teaching in Person

Chapter 8: Moving Forward



About the Authors

Laura M. Harrison is Associate Professor in the Counseling and Higher Education Department at Ohio University, USA.

Peter C. Mather is Associate Professor in the Counseling and Higher Education Department at Ohio University, USA.

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