1st Edition

The Future of American Higher Education How Today's Public Intellectuals Frame the Debate

Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis Copyright 2022
    300 Pages
    by Routledge

    300 Pages
    by Routledge

    "This impressive anthology presents the reader with an introduction to a gallery of public intellectuals through the critical eyes of a wide array of contributing writers from various academic fields. Both the latter and the public intellectuals themselves are responding to the state of American higher education. Importantly, most of them (there are a few public intellectuals in the book who cling closer to the status quo) do not separate colleges and universities from the political, economic, and social currents of American society. They attack the realities of growing social inequality, the intractable presence of institutional racism, and the recurrent reliance on the free market as the arbiter of value. Public intellectuals assess the impact of these social factors on the organization and practices of contemporary American higher education. They force the reader to consider serious challenges to the current arrangement of higher learning and, as such, they ask us to assess the efficacy of their respective perspectives. Do they present the reader with insight or idealism, pathways or dead ends? This compendium provides an abundance of ideas for higher education leaders, policy makers, faculty members, trustees and governmental officials as well as social theorists and graduate students interested in higher education careers."—Richard Guarasci, President Emeritus of Wagner CollegeJust as our society is polarized, higher education is no less divided as to its mission and purpose, whether it should be preparing students for employment or for engagement as citizens, whether it should be corporatist and profit-driven or promote intellectual curiosity and independent thinking, and whether it should pursue a neoliberal agenda or promote a liberal education. Whose scholarship, culture and epistemologies should be validated? Should it be a private or a public good? Preserve tenure or erode it? What role should colleges and universities play in addressing economic inequality and systemic racism? The answers to these questions are critical for the future of our society as our universities and colleges are the nurseries of the values and philosophies that shape it.The chapters in this book review the contributions of seventeen public intellectuals who have been at the forefront of these issues and significantly contributed to these debates. Each describes the genesis of each scholar’s ideas and presents and critiques his or her core insights and arguments. The seventeen public intellectuals represent a spectrum of opinion, from the conservative to the progressive.At this pivotal moment when much of higher education is in economic crisis, and public trust in it has been eroded, this book offers a robust entry point for considering the options and directions ahead for anyone in a leadership position. The book will also be valuable for higher education courses to stimulate debate about these critical issues and introduce readers to the seminal thinkers in the field.Public Intellectuals PresentedStanley AronowitzMichael BérubéMarc BousquetPatricia Hill CollinsLori Patton DavisWilliam DeresiewiczStanley Fish Marybeth GasmanHenry GirouxSara Goldrick-RabbAmy GutmannRussell JacobyRandall KennedyDavid KirpDavid F. LabareeChristopher NewfieldMichael Roth

    Foreword Richard Guarasci Introduction Joseph L. DeVitis Part One. On Liberal Education One Setting the Stage. The Cultural Work of Russell Jacoby Joseph L. DeVitis & Gregory Seals Two Amy Gutmann’s Ethics, Deliberative Democracy, and Challenges in Higher Education Spoma Jovanovic Three Michael Roth and the Liberal Arts. Transforming Society and Selves Daniel P. Liston Four Saving the University from Itself. Stanley Fish and the Future of the Academy Dan Sarofian-Butin Five The Trouble with Elites. William Deresiewicz’s Critique of Neoliberal Higher Education in the United States J. Todd Ormsbee Part Two. On Labor and Learning Six Assessing the Academy. David Kirp on Higher Education Kevin Murray Seven Michael Bérubé and the Neoliberal University. Humanities, Academic Freedom, and the Crises in Higher Education Deron Boyles Eight The Wal-Martification of Higher Education. Marc Bousquet’s Critical Examination of Contingent Faculty and Academic Labor Practices Dan Bauer & Marshall Martin Nine The Neoliberal Transformation of Higher Education. Stanley Aronowitz and the Rise of the Corporate Knowledge Factory John M. Elmore Ten Newfield as a New Field? The Substance and Subjectivities of a Cross-Disciplinary Voice in the Public Domain Cassie L. Barnhardt Eleven Consumer Demand and the Status-Seeking Society. David F. Labaree on the American Higher Education System Timothy Glander Part Three. On Education and Social Change Twelve #Real College. The Work and Activism of Sara Goldrick-Rabb Carrie Freie Thirteen Lori Patton Davis. Mapping the Landscape of African-American Postsecondary Education Sabrina Ross Fourteen Equity and Advocacy. The Scholarship of Marybeth Gasman Pietro A. Sasso, Adriel A. Hilton, & Cheron H. Davis Fifteen Affirmative Action in Higher Education. The Perspectives of Randall Kennedy William L. Nuckols & Dennis E. Gregory Sixteen Patricia Hill Collins’ On Intellectual Activism. The Expansion of Our Field of Perspective Brooke Judie & Stephanie M. McClure Seventeen The Fight for the Public. Henry Giroux, the Neoliberal Project, and the Limits of Critical Pedagogy Dana Morrison Contributors


    Richard Guarasci was the longest-serving president of Wagner College, becoming president emeritus on his retirement in 2019. He joined the college in 1997 as provost and vice president for academic affairs. He was previously dean of Hobart College at the Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Prior to that he served as a faculty member and dean at St. Lawrence University, New York.He has served both as a member of the board of directors, and board chair of The Association of American Colleges & Universities, Campus Compact, The Coalition of Urban & Metropolitan Universities, The New American Colleges and Universities, New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, and Project Pericles. He has also served on the National Task Force on Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement and the Anchor Institution Task Force. Joseph L. DeVitis is a retired professor of educational foundations and higher education. He is a past president of the American Educational Studies Association (AESA), the Council of Learned Societies in Education, and the Society of Professors of Education. Dr. DeVitis is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Two of his books have earned Choice Awards from the American Library Association, and four others have won Critics Choice Awards from AESA as outstanding books of the year, including his most recent book, Popular Educational Classics (Peter Lang, 2016).

    "Joseph DeVitis’s The Future of American Higher Education: How Today’s Public Intellectuals Frame the Debate is an extensive review of the myriad crises facing American higher education through the eyes of public intellectuals who have taken on the academy and society writ large. It is a compelling compilation that inspires readers and contemporary scholars to take up their own role as public intellectuals as we work to challenge and re-envision the academy toward the ever-changing public good. An array of topics includes deliberative democracy, neoliberal higher education, affirmative action, activism, consumer demand, ethics and equity, and the role of the public intellectual in their own right. This book is ideal for any course on American higher education as it takes up important topics facing the historical present through the work of public intellectuals including university presidents and highly visible scholars within and outside of the field of higher education."

    Penny A. Pasque

    Professor of Educational Studies and Director of Qualitative Methods at Ohio State University

    “By focusing on public intellectuals through the lenses of a rich array of scholars in their own right, Joe DeVitis captures the complexity and struggles of modern-day higher education. Are colleges and universities headed down the rabbit’s warren as they negotiate larger economic, social, and political goals and their own educational and intellectual purposes? Reasonable minds will disagree about how the academy should balance these interests. The Future of American Higher Education: How Today’s Public Intellectuals Frame the Debate is a compelling, lively, and thought-provoking read—and it could not have come at a better time in light of the many existential pressures surrounding higher education.”

    Jonathan Brand

    President, Cornell College

    "This is a 'must read' book for anyone concerned about the state of contemporary higher education as it relates to the broader social, economic, and political realities within which it is embedded. Cutting across many of the essays are hard hitting critiques of persistent problems such as systemic racism and income inequality that are inadequately addressed by, and too often reproduced within, our colleges and universities. Collectively, the essays are engaging, thought-provoking, and worth broad attention, both inside and outside of the academy."

    Dorothy Leland

    Chancellor Emerita, Professor of Information and Cognitive Sciences, University of California, Merced

    “I came to the United States for its 'superior' colleges and universities and have been working here for the past twenty years, witnessing and sharing the trials and tribulations they face. This book not only helps me better understand their struggles; it also sheds light on how we can unshackle them toward fuller imagination and creativity. The engaging minds of the public intellectuals so compellingly illumined by DeVitis and his collaborators present a promising road map for the renewal and transformation of the American academy.”

    Tian Yu

    Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Leadership, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

    "At this pivotal moment when much of higher education is in economic and political crisis and public trust in it has been eroded, this book offers a robust entry point for considering the options and directions ahead for those interested in the future of American colleges and universities. The text will be valuable to graduate students and faculty and higher education leaders by stimulating debate about critical issues and introducing readers to seminal thinkers in the field."

    The American Educational Studies Association