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ERIC Number: EJ861149
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
Whose "Greater Expectations" Are They, Anyway? Exposing the Tensions within the Rhetoric of Educational Reform
Cleary, Rosemary J.; Raimon, Eve Allegra
Liberal Education, v95 n1 p30-35 Win 2009
In 1988, civic and business leaders worked collaboratively with university representatives to establish a campus of the University of Southern Maine in the Lewiston-Auburn area, and they decided to build the new college on a solid foundation in the liberal arts. Rather than establishing a curriculum focused myopically on professional preparation, they agreed on the importance of emphasizing critical thinking, written and oral communication, and an orientation toward lifelong learning that would enrich students' professional, personal, and civic lives well beyond their first--or next--jobs. Since its inception, Lewiston-Auburn College's mission has been to offer a curriculum "marked by integration between the liberal arts disciplines; between the liberal arts, the professional concentrations and the workplace; and between the college and the community." In their decision to provide what the Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) report describes as "the kind of life-enhancing, liberal--and liberating--education that once was available only to the fortunate few," the founders of Lewiston-Auburn College anticipated many aspects of the "New Academy" that now guide curricular reform at all three campuses of the University of Southern Maine. Conceptually, the "New Academy" emerges from higher education reforms that address the "multiple purposes of higher learning in a complex society" and attempts to "bring together the divergent expectations" of students, employers, policymakers, faculty, and the general public. As friendly yet probing faculty of this "New Academy," the authors seek in this article to draw attention to the tensions concealed by the salutary rhetoric in Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U) calls for educational reform. They juxtapose an account of their experiences in curricular reform with an analysis that problematizes the rhetoric of AAC&U documents. What, the authors ask, does the vision of the "New Academy" look like when it is put into practice at an actual institution? What pedagogical advances are made, and what difficulties are intensified? Even at a college like theirs--whose mission is to help aspiring students achieve the "greater expectations" set by their own community and where they collaborate with and enjoy strong support from business and civic leaders--it is necessary, productive, and healthy to heighten recognition of the differing and often competing interests, values, and expectations of their constituents and to engage those differences thoughtfully.
Association of American Colleges and Universities. 1818 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. Tel: 800-297-3775; Tel: 202-387-3760; Fax: 202-265-9532; e-mail: pub_desk@aacu.org; Web site: http://www.aacu.org/publications/index.cfm
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maine
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001