All the Essential Half-Truths about Higher Education / Edition 2

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Overview

George Dennis O'Brien offers an engagingly written, cogent analysis of higher education in America. O'Brien argues that to debate intelligently about the future of education, we must stop focusing on its ideals and look instead at its institutions. O'Brien shows how the institution of American higher education changed fundamentally during this century when the administration-led, religious or denominational college was replaced by the faculty-dominated research university. Since then, the scientific assumptions of the research model have clashed with what O'Brien terms the "historical 'hangover' of moral mission" still expected of the university. How will ambiguously governed institutions respond intelligently to the financial, technological, and cultural changes just now beginning to affect higher education? Who will decide, for example, how many physicists are enough? Or which departments should be shut down? O'Brien illuminates such issues by looking at them in their institutional setting. Valid goals and ideas are significantly altered once they are incorporated into practical form: What may have been "truths" become "half-truths." O'Brien's proposals on what might be done to help colleges survive in the next century range from changing the nature of tenure to rethinking the logic of financial aid to developing distinctive institutional missions. This book is deceptive. O'Brien's witty and relaxed style disguises a serious, well-structured, historically informed argument on the present challenges and future prospects of American higher education.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
O'Brien discusses how whole truths gradually become half-truths within an institutional environment, and he offers suggestions for rectifying the situation. His ultimate goal is to make readers think about who will decide the future of higher education, and what principles will govern their deciscions.
Booknews
Arguing that in order to debate intelligently about the future of education, the focus must shift from its ideals to its institutions, the author shows how remnants of the administration-led, religious or denominational college clash with the scientific assumptions of the modern faculty-dominated research university. In each chapter, he addresses one of nine half-truths, such as whether low-cost public education benefits the least advantaged in society. His proposals for improvements include changing the nature of tenure, rethinking the logic of financial aid, and developing distinctive institutional Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226616544
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 266
  • Lexile: 1250L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


George Dennis O'Brien was president of Bucknell University and subsequently the University of Rochester until his retirement in 1994. He is the author of Hegel on Reason and History, God and the New Haven Railroad, and What to Expect from College.
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Table of Contents

Full-Face Preface
1 Anyone for Higher Education? 1
2 The Faculty Is the University 15
3 Tenure Is a Necessary Condition of Academic Freedom 31
4 Universities Are Neutral on Moral Value/Universities Teach Moral Value 51
5 The Liberal Arts Curriculum Aims at Distribution/Diversity 74
6 Teaching Is the Primary Task of Higher Education 92
7 The Problem with Higher Education Is the Administration 105
8 Low-Cost Public Education Benefits the Least Advantaged 137
9 The University Is the Axial Institution of Modern Society 153
10 Synthetic Morality 170
11 Ultimate Synthesis: Money, Mission, and Management 202
References, Acknowledgments, and Afterthoughts 229
Index 239
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