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ERIC Number: EJ1046789
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-2327-3607
Defending and Goading the Foundations of Education
DeVitis, Joseph L.
Critical Questions in Education, v4 n2 p85-90 Spr 2013
In their recent landmark study of undergraduate education in America, "Academically Adrift," Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa question whether colleges and universities are really able to justify their traditionally exalted reputations. The study paints a rather dismal portrait of how little learning may actually be taking place on our campuses. If their report is substantially accurate, academe will have to defend itself against strident calls for change from the public, policymakers, and politicians of all stripes. The latter will be asking these kinds of questions: do students, parents, and employers regard higher education as primarily a credentialing institution, regardless of how much or little learning is occurring? Are students reading and writing far less than previous generations? In particular, are they doing less lengthy, sustained reading and writing? Has academic rigor been on the wane for some time now? Is the academy nurturing critical thinking or simply giving lip service to that taken-for-granted goal? In this article Joseph DeVitis pursues a line of thinking in which he believes the foundations of education can offer significant antidotes to this assumed academic malaise if the public, policymakers, politicians, and even teacher education colleagues understand and agree to unleash the full power of the field of education foundations. He posits that instead, offerings have been marginalized and largely set aside. At the same time, university leaders continue to call for more preparation in civic and moral education, and DeVitis says the he knows of few fields that can perform that function better than the foundations of education. What DeVitis is ultimately arguing is that foundations of education scholars and practitioners would be more valuable to schools and society if they kept their public-intellectual role at the forefront of their activities. In fulfilling that role in its widest sense, they could be assisting in solving some of the most important issues of the day, both practical and moral. To do this, he calls for foundation practitioners to develop more generalizing vocabularites so that they can more directly affect public discourse and policy. He sees the need for foundation educators to soften ties to discipleship, to restrain themselves from focus on esoteric articles and useless grants that pad curriculum vitaes and rob students of educator presence. A bibliography is included.
Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A