Muscatine (English, emeritus, Univ. of California, Berkeley), an active participant in the movement for reform in American higher education, starts with a blunt accusation: "the teaching and learning that go on in our colleges are actually not very good at all." He has many ideas for improvements, focused on getting away from big classes, memorization of facts, and multiple-choice exams and replacing ineffective approaches and curriculum with small group discussions that put students at the center and enable them to take responsibility for their own learning. He knows, citing his own experience and other models, that this change will not take place without confronting college faculty, transforming graduate training, and moving away from measuring professorial quality by research instead of teaching. VERDICT Although Muscatine's optimism is not totally convincing, his idealistic hopes for change and his easy conversational style make this an appealing and valuable perspective.
Fixing College Education is full of cogent, frank, even refreshingly blunt criticism of undergraduate education. Muscatine’s passion pervades the volume, and he does not hesitate to criticize the sacred cows of academe in search for improved education of students.
Fixing College Education is a personal statement by a distinguished teacher and scholar who cares deeply about student learning and who tried gallantly to change a system that is seriously flawed. This is a manifesto that needs to be widely read.