How can colleges develop learners who pursue innovative ideas that enable them to flourish and contribute in a rapidly changing world?
Two decades into the twenty-first century, our nation's colleges and universities no longer embrace a clear and convincing definition of the purpose of a college education. Instead, most institutions have fallen prey to a default purpose in which college is essentially workforce preparation for jobs that already exist, while students are viewed as commodities instead of being educated to flourish throughout their lives. But rather than bemoan the diminishing legacy of liberal education, this new edition of Cultivating Inquiry-Driven Learners argues that the time has come to advance a pioneering purpose of college that guides the undergraduate experience from program requirements to teaching and learning.
This purpose, Clifton Conrad and Laura Dunek write, is anchored in the premise that the world in which we live is one in which change—environmental, cultural, economic, political—is a constant driving force. The authors envision a college-educated person in the twenty-first century as an "inquiry-driven learner": a person equipped with the capabilities to explore and cultivate ideas that will prepare them to successfully navigate constant change, capitalize on career opportunities, enrich their personal life, and contribute to the public good. They describe four signature capabilities that students must develop in order to innovate and adapt: core qualities of mind, critical thinking skills, expertise in divergent modes of inquiry, and the capacity to express and communicate ideas.
Guided by this trailblazing vision, Conrad and Dunek have thoroughly revised every chapter of the book to reflect current scholarship and emerging trends. In an expanded conclusion, they provide a cornucopia of ideas for replenishing undergraduate education accompanied by real-world examples of innovative programs and practices from colleges and universities across the United States. Throughout, Cultivating Inquiry-Driven Learners challenges stakeholders from across higher learning—faculty, students, staff, administrators, and policymakers—to reflect on the purpose of college, embrace innovation, and ensure that students are educated to thrive in and contribute to our constantly changing world.
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