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The Relevance of Higher Education


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Introduction. Chapter 1. A Philosophy of Prudence and the Purpose of HIgher Education Today by Lee Trepanier Chapter 2. Relevance in Higher Education: A Modest Proposal by Jon M. Fennell Chapter 3. The Expanding Circuit of Life: Higher Education, Wit, and Relevance by Bryan R. Warnick Chapter 4. Virtue, Happiness, and Balance: What Jefferson Can Still Teach us about Higher Education by Michael Schwartz Chapter 5. Toward a Neo-Perennialist Philosophy of Liberal Education by Wayne Willis Chapter 6. Academic Freedom and the Role of the Humanities by James Scott Johnston Chapter 7. The University and the Polis in an Age of Relevance by Bradley C.S. Watson Chapter 8. Order and Educational Relevance: Crisis and Conservancy in Western Civilization by Michael Wayne Hail Chapter 9. American Democracy and Liberal Education in an Era of "Relevance" by Jason R. Jividen Chapter 10. The Social Relevance of Egoism and Perfectionism: Nietzsche's Education for the Public Good by Mark Jonas Chapter 11. Irrelevance is Not an Option: Higher Education and the American Socio-economic System by Stephen Clements Chapter 12. Institutional Diversity and the Future of American Higher Education: Reconsidering the Vision of David Riesman by Wilfred M. McClay About the Authors

About the Author

Timothy L. Simpson is an associate professor of education at Morehead State University.


The Relevance of Higher Education: Exploring a Contested Notion. . . .pushes back against the narrow, market-oriented notion of relevance that dominates higher education policy today. Arguing overall that higher education's most noble calling is to form individuals, cultivate their characters, and shape their souls, contributors to The Relevance of Higher Education are critical of the larger consumer society, which increasingly pressures colleges and universities to serve its immediate needs for expertise, employees, leaders, and problem-solvers. * Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning *
With the university under constant calls to justify its costs and prove its relevance, this volume of essays couldn't be more timely. Here we have sober reflections on the liberal arts in an age of productivity, assessment, career readiness, and political correctness, each trend threatening in one way or another the cardinal ideals of higher education. Some of the contributors proceed historically, others ethically and philosophically; they invoke Aristotle, Tocqueville, Nietzsche, Dewey, David Rieseman, and Allan Bloom; they range from the highs of liberal education for its own sake to the lows of university marketing strategies; and they expose relevance as a flexible and tactical concept, both an engine of curriculum, a social validation, and a burden of public financing. People confounded by amazing developments such as the labeling of students as 'customers' and data on how little students typically learn during their undergraduate career will find them explained in these pages. Indeed, as the debates over the value and purpose of higher education move forward in the coming years, participants will prosper by assimilating the contents of this volume. -- Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future
The Relevance of Higher Education is a thought-provoking and highly-readable text that will challenge anyone who proclaims to have the 'final word' on the purpose of universities today. I encourage anyone who cares about the future of higher education to read this text carefully and learn from the impressive collection of authors, from a wide variety of fields, who contributed to it. -- Wesley Null, Baylor University

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