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Lesson Plan: An Agenda for Change in American Higher Education

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Why and how American colleges and universities need to change in order to meet the nation's pressing needs American higher education faces some serious problems--but they are not the ones most people think. In this brief and accessible book, two leading experts show that many so-called crises--from the idea that typical students are drowning in debt to the belief that tuiti Why and how American colleges and universities need to change in order to meet the nation's pressing needs American higher education faces some serious problems--but they are not the ones most people think. In this brief and accessible book, two leading experts show that many so-called crises--from the idea that typical students are drowning in debt to the belief that tuition increases are being driven by administrative bloat--are exaggerated or simply false. At the same time, many real problems--from the high dropout rate to inefficient faculty staffing--have received far too little attention. In response, William G. Bowen and Michael S. McPherson provide a frank assessment of the biggest challenges confronting higher education and propose a bold agenda for reengineering essential elements of the system to meet them. The result promises to help shape the debate about higher education for years to come. Lesson Plan shows that, for all of its accomplishments, higher education today is falling short when it comes to vital national needs. Too many undergraduates are dropping out or taking too long to graduate; minorities and the poor fare worse than their peers, reinforcing inequality; and college is unaffordable for too many. But these problems could be greatly reduced by making significant changes, including targeting federal and state funding more efficiently; allocating less money for merit aid and more to match financial need; creating a respected "teaching corps" that would include nontenure faculty; improving basic courses in fields such as math by combining adaptive learning and face-to-face teaching; strengthening leadership; and encouraging more risk taking. It won't be easy for faculty, administrators, trustees, and legislators to make such sweeping changes, but only by doing so will they make it possible for our colleges and universities to meet the nation's demands tomorrow and into the future.


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Why and how American colleges and universities need to change in order to meet the nation's pressing needs American higher education faces some serious problems--but they are not the ones most people think. In this brief and accessible book, two leading experts show that many so-called crises--from the idea that typical students are drowning in debt to the belief that tuiti Why and how American colleges and universities need to change in order to meet the nation's pressing needs American higher education faces some serious problems--but they are not the ones most people think. In this brief and accessible book, two leading experts show that many so-called crises--from the idea that typical students are drowning in debt to the belief that tuition increases are being driven by administrative bloat--are exaggerated or simply false. At the same time, many real problems--from the high dropout rate to inefficient faculty staffing--have received far too little attention. In response, William G. Bowen and Michael S. McPherson provide a frank assessment of the biggest challenges confronting higher education and propose a bold agenda for reengineering essential elements of the system to meet them. The result promises to help shape the debate about higher education for years to come. Lesson Plan shows that, for all of its accomplishments, higher education today is falling short when it comes to vital national needs. Too many undergraduates are dropping out or taking too long to graduate; minorities and the poor fare worse than their peers, reinforcing inequality; and college is unaffordable for too many. But these problems could be greatly reduced by making significant changes, including targeting federal and state funding more efficiently; allocating less money for merit aid and more to match financial need; creating a respected "teaching corps" that would include nontenure faculty; improving basic courses in fields such as math by combining adaptive learning and face-to-face teaching; strengthening leadership; and encouraging more risk taking. It won't be easy for faculty, administrators, trustees, and legislators to make such sweeping changes, but only by doing so will they make it possible for our colleges and universities to meet the nation's demands tomorrow and into the future.

30 review for Lesson Plan: An Agenda for Change in American Higher Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    Helpful info, but not super-exciting as an agenda for change. Actually, that is not quite fair: The authors say that taming the monster of sports spending is essential, so if anyone had the nerve to try that, it would be amazing. But who would dare? That they cannot say, but at least they point out the need, in no uncertain terms. They are also good on several other points, but those are more familiar, if still tough to solve: Stop over-producing PhDs Create and support a teaching faculty Respect a Helpful info, but not super-exciting as an agenda for change. Actually, that is not quite fair: The authors say that taming the monster of sports spending is essential, so if anyone had the nerve to try that, it would be amazing. But who would dare? That they cannot say, but at least they point out the need, in no uncertain terms. They are also good on several other points, but those are more familiar, if still tough to solve: Stop over-producing PhDs Create and support a teaching faculty Respect and reward non-tenure-track faculty Spend student aid on those who need it, instead of using it to recruit the already-affluent And so on. They even have a more reasonable attitude toward tech than most books in this genre. But like most books in this genre, it is long on what should be done, and short on how it might actually get done. Since I work on books that are about what to do, perhaps it is natural that I notice when that part gets left out. At least this was short, and to-the-point (especially if you ignore the footnotes, because the type is too small), and pretty open about some real problems.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen Adkins

    THere's a lot to like in this book. The authors use plenty of data to justify sustainable changes for higher Ed that wouldn't destroy its best virtues. But their U President background means that they sometimes ignore likely obstacles to some of their ideas. THere's a lot to like in this book. The authors use plenty of data to justify sustainable changes for higher Ed that wouldn't destroy its best virtues. But their U President background means that they sometimes ignore likely obstacles to some of their ideas.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    Another detailed higher education read. This book covered the gamete of topics and it made me think about policy and what that means for higher education. An interesting read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Museclio

    Mixed Emotions There is much I like about this book, and much I agree with. However, many of the ideas they espouse require widespread societal change that the skeptic in me is unsure we can ever achieve. Well worth reading, though, if you are in any way involved in higher ed.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Toigo

    I loved this book! Bowen and McPherson have great, smart, innovative and reachable ideas of how Higher Education needs to change. A great and easy read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phi Beta Kappa Authors

    William G. Bowen ΦBK, Denison University, 1954 Author From the publisher: American higher education faces some serious problems--but they are not the ones most people think. In this brief and accessible book, two leading experts show that many so-called crises--from the idea that typical students are drowning in debt to the belief that tuition increases are being driven by administrative bloat--are exaggerated or simply false. At the same time, many real problems--from the high dropout rate to ine William G. Bowen ΦBK, Denison University, 1954 Author From the publisher: American higher education faces some serious problems--but they are not the ones most people think. In this brief and accessible book, two leading experts show that many so-called crises--from the idea that typical students are drowning in debt to the belief that tuition increases are being driven by administrative bloat--are exaggerated or simply false. At the same time, many real problems--from the high dropout rate to inefficient faculty staffing--have received far too little attention. In response, William G. Bowen and Michael S. McPherson provide a frank assessment of the biggest challenges confronting higher education and propose a bold agenda for reengineering essential elements of the system to meet them. The result promises to help shape the debate about higher education for years to come. Lesson Plan shows that, for all of its accomplishments, higher education today is falling short when it comes to vital national needs. Too many undergraduates are dropping out or taking too long to graduate; minorities and the poor fare worse than their peers, reinforcing inequality; and college is unaffordable for too many. But these problems could be greatly reduced by making significant changes, including targeting federal and state funding more efficiently; allocating less money for "merit aid" and more to match financial need; creating a respected "teaching corps" that would include nontenure faculty; improving basic courses in fields such as math by combining adaptive learning and face-to-face teaching; strengthening leadership; and encouraging more risk taking. It won't be easy for faculty, administrators, trustees, and legislators to make such sweeping changes, but only by doing so will they make it possible for our colleges and universities to meet the nation's demands tomorrow and into the future.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Frances

  8. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Hendrie

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bjorn

  10. 4 out of 5

    Will

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hilary Hugin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

  13. 5 out of 5

    V Dixon

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chase

  15. 5 out of 5

    Staci

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Millspaugh Gray

  17. 5 out of 5

    KinHo Chan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  19. 5 out of 5

    Forrest Maltzman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Theresa G. Golding

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  22. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  23. 5 out of 5

    Readers Prescription

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed

  25. 5 out of 5

    Allison Ramsing

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ken

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brian Turner

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  29. 5 out of 5

    Renee Kiner

  30. 4 out of 5

    Connor Salanger

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