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Colleges at the Crossroads

Taking Sides on Contested Issues


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.

List of Charts, Figures, Tables – Joseph L. DeVitis/Pietro A. Sasso: Introduction – Johann N. Neem: What Is College for? – Patricia A. McGuire: Modernizing College Purposes to Save a Troubled World – Bruce W. Hauptli: The Urgent Need for Liberal Education in Today’s Troubled World – Richard Guarasci: Civic Engagement and Higher Learning – Neal H. Hutchens/Frank Fernandez: "Flipping" the Tenure Debate and the Continuing Need to Protect Academic Freedom – Ashley Thorne: What Is Academic Freedom for? – David Shiner: The Contingency of Tenure – Philo A. Hutcheson: Why Tenure Needs Protection in These Troubled Times – Dennis E. Gregory: Free Expression at Public Colleges and Universities: Why Students Should Care About It and Why Campus Officials Should Make Sure It Is Protected – R. Scott Mattingly/J. Bennett Durham/Matthew R. Shupp: Free Expression and Political Correctness: Contextualizing the Controversies and Finding a Way Forward – Cristobal Salinas Jr./Valerie A. Guerrero: Tokenizing Social Justice in Higher Education – Michael Sean Funk: Creating Inclusive Classrooms as an Imperative for Historically Underrepresented Groups in Higher Education – Isis N. Walton/Nicolle Parsons-Pollard: It Is a Balancing Act: Faculty Workload – Sean Robinson: Faculty Work Life: Beyond the Tipping Point – Michael T. Miller/Everrett A. Smith: Faculty Governance as a Thorny Problem – Dilys Schoorman: The Erosion of Faculty Governance – Ezekiel Kimball/Juan Manuel Ruiz-Hau/Fermin Valle: Limited by Design? A Critical Sociohistorical Analysis of Postsecondary Learning Outcomes – Sergio Ossorio/Kimberly A. Kline: Are College Students Learning More or Less Than in the Past? – David S. Knowlton: Instructional Technology as Revolutionary Savior of Higher Education Classrooms: An Analysis of Scope, Ethics, and Virtues – Paul Gordon Brown: Will Technology and Distance Instruction Save Higher Education? – Martin C. Yu/Nathan R. Kuncel: The Importance of Standardized Tests in College Admissions – Aaron W. Hughey: Why Standardized Testing Is Not Essential in College Admissions – Monica Galloway Burke/Colin Cannonier/Aaron W. Hughey: Is Higher Education Worth the Cost? – Lindsey M. Burke: Is Higher Education Worth the Cost? It Depends – Matthew Varga/Scott L. Lingrell: The College Arms Race: How It Is Destroying Higher Education in the United States – Steven Tolman/Christopher Trautman: The Need for College Amenities and Their Benefit to the Student and Institution’s Success – Mark Bauman: Then and Now: The Relationship Between the College and the Student – Denise L. Davidson/Amy A. Paciej-Woodruff: Are College Students Too Entitled Today? The Role of Customer Service in Meeting Student Needs and Expectations – Ashley Tull/Kathy Cavins-Tull: Are Fraternities and Sororities Still Relevant? – Pietro A. Sasso: Fraternities and Sororities in the Contemporary Era Revisited: A Pendulum of Tolerance – Curtis M. Clock/Thalia M. Mulvihill: Are Collegiate Athletics Necessary in Contemporary Higher Education? – Sally Dear-Healey: Academics and Athletics: Struggles and Strategies in the Pursuit of (A) Grades and (A) Games – Contributors.