Steven Brint on Two Cheers for Higher Education

April 9, 2019
2:00PM - 3:15PM
Room 250, Sutardja Dai Hall

Join us for a seminar and presentation focused on Steven Brint's latest book Two Cheers for Higher Education - Why American Universities Are Stronger than Ever And How to Meet the Challenges They Face.



Abstract: It is common to hear the rhetoric of crisis to describe the current situation of the U.S. higher education system. Critics point to rising costs, burdensome student debt, the decline of the humanities, the dubious quality of much undergraduate education, the rise of online competition, and campus climates that are seen as hostile to dissenting speech. While acknowledging that many of the criticisms of American higher education have merit, Professor Steven Brint provides broad new evidence of the strength of American universities and their growing prominence in public life. To understand the success of the American system, he points to the size of investments in the system and the interplay of three logics of development: (1) the traditional logic of academic professionalism, (2) the logic of the market (with particular emphasis on new technology development), and (3) the logic of social inclusion. Tensions have existed among those who identify primarily with one of these logics against the others, but together these three logics of development have created an unusual dynamism for American universities and a record of achievement that is unrivalled. In the last section of the presentation, Professor Brint provides evidence-based suggestions about how best to meet one of the most important challenges facing American universities: the poor quality of undergraduate instruction. He also discusses the potential cost of some practices adopted recently by the University of California to shore up diversity initiatives.

Steven Brint is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Director of the Colleges & Universities 2000 Project at the University of California, Riverside.