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ERIC Number: EJ1095196
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
A New Paradigm for Liberal Education
Thompson, Robert J., Jr.
Liberal Education, v100 n3 Sum 2014
Higher education in the United States has been a source of pride but also the target of continuous debates, criticisms, and calls for reform. In the first decade of this century, concerns were focused on the effectiveness of educational practices and the quality of student learning, as well as access and escalating costs. As a consequence, there were increasing demands for accountability. These demands for accountability, however, masked the fact that colleges and universities were being asked not just to perform their traditional functions better and more efficiently, but also to be responsive to a new set of societal needs reflecting the challenges and opportunities of our knowledge-based economy and the pluralistic, globally interconnected world of the twenty-first century. As costs continue to escalate and confidence that higher education is fulfilling its promise declines, the fundamental purposes, value, and underlying educational model are now being questioned. On the one hand, colleges and universities are being criticized for not engaging the "big questions" that involve ultimate values and standards and there are calls to include moral, civic, and political development and preparation for reflective citizenship as central goals of undergraduate education. On the other hand, colleges and universities are being called on to abandon their commitment to providing a broad, liberal education and instead focus on connecting college education more directly to the needs of the economy. In "Beyond Reason and Tolerance: The Purpose and Practice of Undergraduate Education" author Robert Thompson argues that in order to be responsive to twenty-first-century societal needs for civic-minded graduates who have the capacities and dispositions to engage difference and generate knowledge in the service of society, higher education needs to transform its purposes and practices. To meet this challenge, Thompson argues in the book that higher education needs to recommit to providing a formative undergraduate liberal education and adopt a developmental model to guide educational practices. In this article Thompson argues that just as the shift to make student learning, rather than teaching, central constituted a paradigm shift, adopting a developmental model constitutes a new paradigm for undergraduate education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A