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Colleges at the Crossroads

Taking Sides on Contested Issues


Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis and Pietro A. Sasso

Focusing on crucial issues in higher education, this book challenges readers to go beyond taken-for-granted assumptions about America’s colleges and universities and instead critically examine important questions facing them in today’s troubled world. Each chapter presents divergent perspectives, that is, "pro" and "con" views, in the hope of stimulating reasoned dialogue among students, faculty, administrators, and the public at large. Readers will explore how internal factors in the academic community often interact with external social, economic, and political influences to produce conflictual results. They will see that academe is hardly value-neutral and inevitably political. This book urges them to transcend strident political persuasion and instead engage in the careful analysis needed to make colleges better.

The text provides in-depth appraisal of key topics of controversy: the purposes of higher education, liberal education, academic freedom, political correctness, tenure, shared governance, faculty workload, admissions tests, student learning, Greek life, the worth of college, equity and social justice, athletics, student entitlement, technology and distance instruction, and college amenities. The book will appeal to students, faculty, staff, and all those interested in the future of higher education. It is especially useful for courses in contemporary issues in higher education, foundations of higher education, higher education and society, college student development, and the organization and administration of higher education.

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12. Creating Inclusive Classrooms as an Imperative for Historically Underrepresented Groups in Higher Education (Michael Sean Funk)


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12.  Creating Inclusive Classrooms as an Imperative for Historically Underrepresented Groups in Higher Education


It is approaching twenty years since I flipped through the syllabus of my Diversity in Higher Education course while working on my Masters degree in Student Personnel Administration at New York University. I still possess a copy of the required book, Campus Wars: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Difference; it is now a keepsake that serves as a reminder of how music might change, but in the end, it is the same instruments that produce the sound. In other words, the language to describe the tensions on college campuses might be different; however, the essence of the issues persists.

The hot ticket topics that emerged from Campus Wars included: Race and Affirmative Action on campus, Free Speech/Code Speech, Sexual Assault and Date Rape, Multiculturalism (currently referred to as Diversity and Inclusion), Pluralism, and Identity Politics. With little effort, one can take a cursory glance at the first page of the Chronicles in Higher Education, The New York Times, Huffington Post, or Inside Higher Education to revisit similar issues within the Higher Education landscape. Without deeper investigation, a straightforward conclusion would prove that the polarity of perspectives on these issues remains unapologetically intransigent.

To be sure, a renewed display of activism is traversing throughout the country. Students are queering gender-binaries by challenging long-standing heteronormative practices. There is a regenerated decry...

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