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Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Educationby Robert Zemsky
Synopses & Reviews
Making Reform Work is a practical narrative of ideas that begins by describing who is saying what about American higher education--who's angry, who's disappointed, and why. Most of the pleas for changing American colleges and universities that originate outside the academy are lamentations on a small number of too often repeated themes. The critique from within the academy focuses on issues principally involving money and the power of the market to change colleges and universities. Sandwiched between these perspectives is a public that still has faith in an enterprise that it really doesn't understand.
Robert Zemsky, one of a select group of scholars who participated in Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings's 2005 Commission on the Future of Higher Education, signed off on the commission's report with reluctance. In Making Reform Work he presents the ideas he believes should have come from that group to forge a practical agenda for change. Zemsky argues that improving higher education will require enlisting faculty leadership, on the one hand, and, on the other, a strategy for changing the higher education system writ large.
Directing his attention from what can't be done to what can be done, Zemsky provides numerous suggestions. These include a renewed effort to help students' performance in high schools and a stronger focus on the science of active learning, not just teaching methods. He concludes by suggesting a series of dislodging events--for example, making a three-year baccalaureate the standard undergraduate degree, congressional rethinking of student aid in the wake of the loan scandal, and a change in the rules governing endowments--that could break the gridlock that today holds higher education reform captive.
Making Reform Work offers three rules for successful college and university transformation: don't vilify, don't play games, and come to the table with a well-thought-out strategy rather than a sharply worded lamentation.
Book News Annotation:
This volume discusses higher education reform in America and offers three lessons school leaders can use for success: don't vilify, don't play games, and come to the table with a well thought out strategy. Zemsky briefly describes his work with the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education and what their final report missed, especially about teaching and learning, and what is being said about higher education in the US from within and outside academia, and notes that reform must fall somewhere between what academics want and the necessity of the marketplace. He discusses issues such as globalization, scandals, rankings, affordability, accountability, access, quality, and technology, as well as why learning hasn't mattered. He then provides a list of things not to do, like reforming accreditation, and a list of things to do, like putting learning at the top of the agenda. Zemsky has served in planning, at the Institute for Research on Higher Education, with The Learning Alliance, and in other roles at the U. of Pennsylvania. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Making Reform Work is a practical narrative of ideas that begins by describing who is saying what about American higher education--who's angry, who's disappointed, and why. Robert Zemsky argues that improving higher education will require enlisting faculty leadership, on the one hand, and, on the other, a strategy for changing the higher education system writ large and offers three rules for successful college and university transformation: don't vilify, don't play games, and come to the table with a well-thought-out strategy rather than a sharply worded lamentation.
About the Author
Robert Zemsky is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he heads the Learning Alliance. A leading voice for American higher education reform for three decades, his major works include The Structure of College Choice, the first major study of the market for higher education; Higher Education as Competitive Enterprise, a comprehensive typology of higher education; and Remaking the American University (Rutgers University Press), a host of new, often radical ways to think about American higher education.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Prelude to Reform
Chapter 2. The Wine of Our Discontent
Chapter 3. Commodification and Other Sins
Chapter 4. The Way We Are
Chapter 5. The Rain Man Cometh-Again
Chapter 6. Scandals Waiting to Happen
Chapter 7. The Four Horsemen of Academic Reform
Chapter 8. Flat-World Contrarians
Chapter 9. The Wrong-Way Web
Chapter 10. We're Learning to Matter
Chapter 11. Building Blocks
Chapter 12. Changing Strategies
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