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ERIC Number: EJ847850
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-26
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Needed: A New Generation of Problem Solvers
McArthur, John W.; Sachs, Jeffrey
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n40 pA64 Jun 2009
Amid the global economic crisis dominating policy makers' recent attention, the world faces many other equal if not greater long-term challenges that will require concerted and highly skilled policy efforts in coming years. Those interwoven challenges include the mitigation of climate change, the control of emerging diseases, the reduction of extreme poverty, the development of new and sustainable energy sources, and the sustainable management of water and food systems. Higher-education administrators and faculty members should not focus so much on today's financial concerns that they lose sight of such pressing issues. The problems are complex and interconnected, spilling across academic disciplines and often across national borders. Solutions will require theoretical knowledge and practical problem-solving skills, including the capacity to build and lead teams drawn from a variety of disciplines. They will require leaders who can cross boundaries of science, policy, geography, theory, and practice. In other words, they will require a new generation of sustainable-development practitioners. Unfortunately, however, at a time when so many of the world's most-challenging issues require solutions drawing from across academic and professional disciplines, colleges remain overwhelmingly focused on single-discipline studies. While specialists are still essential, and nobody can master all the relevant interconnected areas of expertise, vastly more professionals should have basic knowledge spanning crucial areas like natural science, health science, engineering, public policy, and management. That basic knowledge is needed to harness and coordinate the insights that are constantly emerging from a relevant range of fields. The financial crisis has certainly created a challenging budgetary environment for many universities aiming to begin new efforts. But if anything, the common crisis has placed a spotlight on the world's interconnected fate, and the importance of farsighted, cross-disciplinary decision making as a basic need for a more prosperous future. The authors contend that with the support of academe, international organizations, and current development practitioners, a new generation of problem solvers can be empowered to meet the sustainable-development challenges for people's common future.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A