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Their Highest Vocation: Social Justice and the Millennial Generation
     

Their Highest Vocation: Social Justice and the Millennial Generation

by Helen Fox
 
According to polls, today’s «Millennial» college students are the most politically progressive generation in U.S. history. They are deeply concerned about social and economic inequality, they support egalitarian relationships among nations and peoples, and they believe that the government should do whatever it takes to protect the environment. They

Overview

According to polls, today’s «Millennial» college students are the most politically progressive generation in U.S. history. They are deeply concerned about social and economic inequality, they support egalitarian relationships among nations and peoples, and they believe that the government should do whatever it takes to protect the environment. They have a strong desire to «change the world» for the better, and are volunteering in record numbers to do so. Yet Millennials have been educated to be rule-followers, good test-takers, and high academic achievers who feel uncomfortable expressing opinions that go against the norm. Their ease with social media has made their relationships superficial and fleeting. They do not take to the streets, and rarely imagine any radical re-thinking of economic or political systems. Treated as special and entitled by doting parents and teachers, Millennial college students have energy, skills, and heart, but lack historical context, opportunities for critical thinking about complex social problems, and intimate connection to the people they so passionately want to serve. Their Highest Vocation: Social Justice and the Millennial Generation features the voices of Millennial college student leaders, progressive instructors, academic advisors, and program heads who tell us what today’s college students need and how the university might adapt to meet their challenge.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«I am truly grateful to Helen and excited about this book. I think it should be mandatory reading for anyone serious about the role of and opportunities confronting higher education today. Further, I hope all of us will consider the deeper educational questions Helen raises in relationship to serving the intellectual and moral development needs of the Millennial generation. I come away from her text with a much clearer understanding of this generation of students and what I can do as an educator to support their growth and development. Further, I’m filled with a greater optimism that the world will benefit from this generation of leaders. Through her own reflective educational practice, Fox provides profound insights to those of us who are committed to the notion that the role of higher education is to create knowledge and transform individuals to bring about positive social change toward a more just and humane world. Dr. Fox has written with great insight and clarity about questions that my colleagues and I wrestle with everyday: how do we support students’ growth and development as they consider their role in making the world a better place? We toss around words like ‘justice, inclusion, mattering, non-violence’ as desired out-comes of higher education and the development of an educated person - but what educational structures are necessary to support students’ own discovery of the meaning of justice and role in bringing that about? I look forward to the many important conversations this book will inevitably stimulate!» (Susan A. Wilson, Associate Dean for Community Life, Academic Dean’s Office, Goddard College)
«This short, radiant, radical book is several things at once. It is a critical but loving assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Millennial generation of undergraduates admitted to the elite American public universities. It is a wise and practical reflection on what faculty can do to encourage their students’ flourishing, both as subjects who arrive at university constrained by unexamined assumptions about race and class and by ‘banking education’ norms, and as agents who are already gifted and passionate about making a positive difference in the world, but too often lack the self-understanding and the insight into others very different from themselves, necessary to realize this aspiration. The book is enlivened by the kind of moral passion we find in Jonathan Kozol, and tempered by the grace and wisdom that comes from many years of practicing the pedagogical principles of Myles Horton and Paulo Freire. Consistent with those principles, many of the insights in this book emerge as meditations on respectful but challenging dialogues with undergraduates and colleagues with whom Fox has worked at the University of Michigan. From these diverse voices, Fox weaves an inspiring, multi-colored vision of higher education as a vital force for building what Freire called ‘a world in which it will be easier to love.’ This is a book to be read, re-read, cherished and shared by all who care about higher education and it relationship to human development and social justice.» (Ian Robinson, Lecturer and Research Scientist, Dept of Sociology and Residential College, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor)
«Helen Fox’s captivating storytelling from page one made me hungry to find out what insights she would share in answer to the questions that shaped this book, questions that resonate loudly with my experience as an educator for social change. I was not disappointed. She first offers a careful look behind the usual broad-brush characterizations of the Millennials, which, as a parent of a Millennial child just starting college, I found engaging, provocative, and full of ideas to help me understand and support my daughter in her college years. Fox then successfully dares to construct a conversation between Paulo

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433112768
Publisher:
Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Publication date:
12/14/2011
Pages:
215
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Helen Fox teaches about race and racism, human rights, peace activism, and international development at the University of Michigan’s Residential College. She is the author of Listening to the World: Cultural Issues in Academic Writing (1994), When Race Breaks Out: Conversations about Race and Racism in College Classrooms (2001, 2009), and the editor, with C. Schroeder and P. Bizzell, of ALT DIS: Alternative Discourses and the Academy (2002), as well as many articles, speeches, book chapters, and rambling notes on future projects.

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