Closed Minds?: Politics and Ideology in American Universities

Closed Minds?: Politics and Ideology in American Universities

by Bruce L.R. Smith, Jeremy D. Mayer, A. Lee Fritschler
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0815780281

ISBN-13: 9780815780281

Pub. Date: 09/01/2008

Publisher: Brookings Institution Press

Contrary to popular belief, the problem with U.S. higher education is not too much politics but too little. Far from being bastions of liberal bias, American universities have largely withdrawn from the world of politics. So conclude Bruce L. R. Smith, Jeremy Mayer, and Lee Fritschler in this illuminating book. C losed Minds? d draws on data from interviews,

Overview

Contrary to popular belief, the problem with U.S. higher education is not too much politics but too little. Far from being bastions of liberal bias, American universities have largely withdrawn from the world of politics. So conclude Bruce L. R. Smith, Jeremy Mayer, and Lee Fritschler in this illuminating book. C losed Minds? d draws on data from interviews, focus groups, and a new national survey by the authors, as well as their decades of experience in higher education to paint the most comprehensive picture to date of campus political attitudes. It finds that while liberals outnumber conservatives within faculty ranks, even most conservatives believe that ideology has little impact on hiring and promotion. Today's students are somewhat more conservative than their professors, but few complain of political bias in the classroom. Similarly, a Pennsylvania legislative inquiry, which the authors explore as a case study of conservative activism in higher education, found that political bias was "rare" in the state's public colleges and universities. Yet this ideological peace on campus has been purchased at a high price. American universities are rarely hospitable to lively discussions of issues of public importance. They largely shun serious political debate, all but ignore what used to be called civics, and take little interest in educating students to be effective citizens. Smith, Mayer, and Fritschler contrast the current climate of disengagement with the original civic mission of American colleges and universities. In concluding, they suggest how universities can reclaim and strengthen their place in the nation's political and civic life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815780281
Publisher:
Brookings Institution Press
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
Higher Education and the "Culture Wars"     8
Emergence of the U.S. Research University     24
Transformations of Academic Culture after World War II     44
Political Attitudes of American Professors: Results of a 2007 National Survey     71
The Politics of Politics in the Classroom     92
Conservative Activism in Higher Education: The Pennsylvania Hearings on Academic Freedom     117
Much Ado about Little: Student Perspectives on Classroom Bias     138
Do Universities Discriminate in Hiring?     163
Conclusions     198
Appendixes
The Survey Instrument     213
Sampling Methodology     224
Focus Group Questions     234
American Council on Education Statement on Academic Rights and Responsibility     236
House Resolution 177 of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania     239
Notes     243
Index     269

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