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Readin’ + Writin’ for the Hard-Hat Crowd

Curriculum Policy at an Urban University


Susan R. Merrifield

Readin’ + Writin’ for the Hard-Hat Crowd explores the history of an urban public university from its conception in 1964 to the dawn of the twenty-first century. The reader views this place in time through the lens of the evolving nature of «freshman English», an introductory curriculum that began as four semesters of Great Books. The author, herself among those once labeled «the hard-hat crowd», received an undergraduate education similar to that experienced by her contemporaries at elite private colleges. Yet, while this school, once considered a poor man’s Harvard, was founded with a mission to provide academic equity, the curriculum evolved to one that responded to pressure for relevancy and practicality.