Further information on Fall 2018 courses


Dan Sullivan: Myths and Controversies in American Higher Education


Course readings:

E-copies of the readings will be sent to students as e-mail attachments a week before the class for which they are intended, but paper copies will be provided for those who would prefer that.


Class schedule (subject to revision):

Sept. 17:  What should the aims and objectives of higher education be?  Disciplinary knowledge?  Higher-order skills?  Job training?  Civic understanding and civic engagement?  All of them?  How does the answer you choose affect how higher education should be organized?

Sept. 24:  Why can’t a college be more like a firm?  Why does college cost so much?  Is the business model broken?

Oct. 1:  Why do the wealthiest colleges educate the fewest low-income students?  Is this right?

Oct. 8:  What are free speech and academic freedom, exactly, in the undergraduate collegiate context?  What’s the “trigger warnings” controversy all about?

Oct. 15:  How have these statements and principles been playing out on American college and university campuses recently?

Oct. 22:  Why can’t we say with good evidence if students leave college with better higher-order skills than when they arrived?  Isn’t it critically important that we figure out how to do that? 

Oct. 29:  Is intercollegiate athletics in elite private colleges and universities the paradigm for what should be?

Nov. 5:  Are colleges and universities and their faculties really like the places and people described in such academic novels as Richard Russo’s Straight Man and Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members?  How have such novels shaped public perceptions of American higher education and its performance?  We’ll also take some time in this session to reflect back on the course overall.