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Remaking College

, 232 pages

3 line drawings

November 2013



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Remaking College

Innovation and the Liberal Arts


As one of the most successful educational enterprises in American history, the residential liberal arts college has long been emulated across all spectrums of undergraduate education in the United States and increasingly around the world. These schools are characterized by broad-based curricula, small class size, and interaction between students and faculty. Aimed at developing students’ intellectual literacy and critical-thinking skills rather than specific professional preparation, the value proposition made by these colleges has recently come under intense pressure.

Remaking College brings together a distinguished group of higher education leaders to define the American liberal arts model, to describe the challenges these institutions face, and to propose sustainable solutions. These essays elucidate the shifting economic and financial models for liberal arts colleges and consider the opportunities afforded by technology, globalism, and intercollegiate cooperative models. By exploring new ideas, offering bold proposals, and identifying emerging lessons, the authors consider the unique position these schools can play in their communities and in the larger world.

Rebecca Chopp is the chancellor of the University of Denver, where she is leading a comprehensive effort to transform the student experience, expand the design of knowledge, and engage with the liberal arts in new ways. Previously she served as the president of Swarthmore College and Colgate University. Susan Frost is a consultant and researcher who works with college and university leaders to help them form and execute strategic plans, engage faculty in shaping their institutions' futures, and develop academic programs as major fundraising targets. Daniel H. Weiss is the president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For over a decade, he led liberal arts institutions, serving as the president of Haverford College and Lafayette College.

"Two presidents assert that higher education will have to address spiraling costs and that some college—particularly regional liberal arts colleges—will have trouble surviving if they don't."

"Higher education is going under the microscope to prove its value. Add to that a growing chorus of pundits who believe that a liberal arts education is a waste of time and a relic of the past. But two college presidents argue in [ Remaking College] that a liberal arts education is, in fact, crucial to not just boosting the economy but to solving many of the world’s problems."

"This spirited collection of essays offers lessons in what the rhetorician Richard Lanham once called ‘the oldest class in American education, the Seminar on the Future of the Liberal Arts.’ Across varying discussions, these leaders argue that ‘flexibility’ will continue to characterize the agility and adaptability that the liberal arts college produces in its graduates and reflects in its own longevity."

"This collection of essays by presidents and other leaders in higher education is both clear sighted about challenges facing small, liberal arts colleges and inspiring for the ways in which it clearly illustrates both the great flexibility of the sector and the deeply held values that fuel its continuing creativity."

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