Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today's College Student

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Overview

Today's college students feel as if they are crossing an abyssbetween their dreams and the reality of an uncertain future. Theyare a generation seeking stability in a time of profound andaccelerating change. They want government and our other socialinstitutions to work in a time when they're broken; they cling tothe American Dream in an age of diminished expectations. They arewalking a tightrope, attempting to balance digital connectednessand personal isolation, global citizenship and local vision,commonality and...

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Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today's College Student

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Overview

Today's college students feel as if they are crossing an abyssbetween their dreams and the reality of an uncertain future. Theyare a generation seeking stability in a time of profound andaccelerating change. They want government and our other socialinstitutions to work in a time when they're broken; they cling tothe American Dream in an age of diminished expectations. They arewalking a tightrope, attempting to balance digital connectednessand personal isolation, global citizenship and local vision,commonality and difference in the most diverse generation inAmerican history, and a desire to be treated as mature adults whilebeing more dependent on their parents than previous collegestudents. Generation on a Tightrope offers a compelling portrait oftoday's undergraduate college students that sheds light on theirattributes, expectations, aspirations, academics, attitudes,values, beliefs, social lives, and politics. Based on research of5,000 college students and student affairs practitioners from 270diverse college campuses, the book explores the similarities anddifferences between today's generation of students and previousgenerations. The authors examine the myriad forces that have shapedthese students and will continue to shape them as they prepare tomeet the future.

The first two volumes in this series exploring the psyche ofcollege students, When Dreams and Heroes Died (1980) and When Hopeand Fear Collide (1998), offered thoughtful and accurate profilesof the students of the 1980s and 1990s. As Generation on aTightrope clearly reveals, today's students need a very differenteducation than the undergraduates who came before them: aneducation for the 21st Century, which colleges and universities areill-equipped to offer and which will require major changes of themto provide.

Painting a realistic picture of today's college students, theauthors offer guidance to higher education professionals,researchers, practitioners, policymakers, employers, parents, andthe public. The book's insights can help them equip students forthe world they face and the world they will help to create.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“Over the last four decades, Arthur Levine has become the premier analyst of continuities and changes in the American college student population. In this impressive and comprehensive volume, Levine and coauthor Diane Dean provide an authoritative and richly textured picture of the much-discussed current generation.” —Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Arthur Levine and Diane R. Dean take the long view of today’s generation of college students. This is a brilliant examination of what has shaped our young people, what they are doing with the tools they have, and where they are headed. It is a diagnosis of what ails them, a celebration of their strengths, and a compelling and generous prescription for their future—and ours.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

“Through this captivating portrait of the aspirations, values, and unique needs of today’s college students, Levine and Dean’s clearly written and engaging book ought to generate a national discussion of how higher education can be restructured in order to respond to and prepare the next generation of college-educated adults—not only for effective functioning in the workplace, but also to live lives as whole human beings who can help to lead our society to a healthier place.” —Alexander W. Astin and Helen S. Astin, distinguished professors of higher education emeriti, UCLA, and authors, Cultivating the Spirit: How Higher Education can Enhance Students’ Inner Lives

“I can’t say enough about how important this work is. This book is right on the mark for what needs to be known and understood about today’s college students by those who are responsible for educating the future leaders and citizens of the world.” —Gwen Dungy, Executive Director, Emeritus, NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student is a must-read for college presidents, administrators, and professors as well as parents, employers, and government leaders—who all have a stake in student success. Understanding who today’s college students are is essential as we collaboratively develop and deliver the education that will prepare this generation to build our future.” —Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470376294
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Series: CourseSmart Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 462,312
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Levine is president of the Woodrow Wilson NationalFellowship Foundation. Previously, he was president and professorof education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Diane R. Dean is associate professor of higher educationpolicy and administration at Illinois State University.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xix

The Authors xxiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: The Past Is a Foreign Country 11

Chapter 2: Academics: The Internet and the Blackboard 37

Chapter 3: Life Outside the Classroom: The New Tribalism 53

Chapter 4: Parents: Helicopters, Lawnmowers, and Stealth Bombers79

Chapter 5: Multiculturalism: The Demographics of Comfort 95

Chapter 6: Politics: Talking Global, Acting Local 117

Chapter 7: The Future: Clinging to the American Dream 147

Chapter 8: Conclusion: The Future Is a Foreign Country 155

Appendix A: The Life and Times of the Class of 2012: AChronology 199

Appendix B: Studies Used in This Book 205

Appendix C: Campus Contacts 209

References 213

Index 219

We dedicate this book to our spouses, Linda Fentiman and JohnGiglio, both educators, and to our children, Jamie Levine, who isteaching today’s college students; Rachel Levine, whograduated from college in 2010 and is one of the people we arewriting about; and Andy and Katy Giglio, who are the collegestudents of the future. We love you very much.

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