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Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education

, 344 pages

1 halftone, 5 line drawings

April 2015



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Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education

A Practical Introduction

Winner of the Outstanding Publication Award of the Post-secondary Education Division of the American Educational Research Association

Table of Contents

Critical theory has much to teach us about higher education. By linking critical models, methods, and research tools with an advocacy-driven vision of the central challenges facing postsecondary researchers and staff, Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education makes a significant—and long overdue—contribution to the development of the field.

The contributors argue that, far from being overly abstract, critical tools and methods are central to contemporary scholarship and can have practical policy implications when brought to the study of higher education. They argue that critical research design and critical theories help scholars see beyond the normative models and frameworks that have long limited our understanding of students, faculty, institutions, the organization and governance of higher education, and the policies that shape the postsecondary arena.

A rigorous and invaluable guide for researchers seeking innovative approaches to higher education and the morass of traditionally functionalist, rational, and neoliberal thinking that mars the field, this book is also essential for instructors who wish to incorporate the lessons of critical scholarship into their course development, curriculum, and pedagogy.

Ana M. Martínez-Alemán is a professor of education and the chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education at Boston College. She is the author of Accountability, Pragmatic Aims, and the American University and the coauthor of Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding What Matters in Student Culture. Brian Pusser is an associate professor of education at the University of Virginia and an affiliate of the Center for Urban Education. He is the coeditor of Universities and the Public Sphere: Knowledge Creation and State Building in the Era of Globalization. Estela Mara Bensimon is a professor of higher education and the co-director of the Center for Urban Education. She is the coeditor of Confronting Equity Issues on Campus: Implementing the Equity Scorecard in Theory and Practice and the coauthor of Promotion and Tenure: Community and Socialization in Academe and Redesigning Collegiate Leadership: Teams and Teamwork in Higher Education.

"Studies authored by a solid array of seasoned scholars, newly minted doctorates, and doctoral students in the field from major institutions across the country... Most useful to institutions that host graduate programs in education to maintain research-level collections in the field."

"At the heart of the book is the idea that linking critical theories, models, and methodologies with a self-aware critical version is essential to social action in higher education."

"This book is a gem with a delicate vision to motivate scholars and teachers alike to engage in the noble—yet difficult—task of effecting change, especially the kind of transformation that advocates justice and nutures equity in higher education."

"Educators and leaders urgently need scholarship that draws critical attention to educational inequities across the world. By foregrounding innovative research approaches, Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education focuses on understanding and counteracting existing inequities. This compelling book will be useful to all those who wish to be part of that effort."

"This book is both comprehensive in nature and seminal in content."

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