Edited By Pietro A. Sasso and Joseph L. DeVitis
Introduction (Pietro A. Sasso and Joseph L. DeVitis)
Introduction Pietro A. Sasso and Joseph L. DeVitis I went to college because I didn’t have anywhere else to go and it was a fabulous hang. And while I was there I was exposed to this world that I didn’t know was possible. —Tom Hanks I loved [college] for what it provided me access to: bonds with people I grew to cherish. And nothing was better than working toward my dreams alongside people I loved who were doing the same. —Liz Murray, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard (2011) Typically, college admissions websites and brochures create exorbitant optimism about higher edu- cation. They mirror the excitement and energy of first-year student welcome weeks, residence hall move-in days, and the initial anxiety of adult learners scurrying to find their classroom locations. Yet the distance between this description and the actual student experience often reflects a less sanguine narrative. That narrative—set between the margins of catalogues, policies, procedures, protocols, strategic plans, grants, retention reports, financial statements, and assessment data— paints a less ideal portrait of college life, one in which the students we presumably serve seem to be peculiarly left out of sight. As a profession and an industry, higher education—like most institutions—is hardly infallible. Its long, often contentious history has moved from a focus on in loco parentis (in place of parents) to alma mater (caring mother) to caveat emptor (buyer beware). Similarly, contemporary colleges have shifted to a kind...
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