The current era in higher education is characterized by increased need for accountability and fiscal constraint coupled with demands for increased productivity. Higher education is expected to meet the demand of changing student demographics, as well as requests for research and service from government and industry. To preserve the academy's ability to meet these demands, the editors and contributors to this volume argue that, while change is inevitable and desirable, any radical alterations to the practices that have established and upheld the excellence of higher education in the United States must be carefully considered.The editors and contributors cherish the best ideals of higher education: academic freedom, commitment to both inquiry and teaching, and preservation of an independence of mind and spirit in the face of external pressures. At the same time, the authors of these essays also reflect upon the failings of higher education, including problematic historical legacies such as racism, sexism, and anti-semitism. In Defense of American Higher Education is a careful analysis of what we have inherited, undertaken with a critical eye for constructive reform. It will be of interest to anyone concerned about the future of American higher education.
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