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"To Serve a Larger Purpose"

Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education

Edited by John Saltmarsh and Matthew Hartley

Publication Year: 2011

"To Serve a Larger Purpose" calls for the reclamation of the original democratic purposes of civic engagement and examines the requisite transformation of higher education required to achieve it. The contributors to this timely and relevant volume effectively highlight the current practice of civic engagement and point to the institutional change needed to realize its democratic ideals.

Using multiple perspectives, "To Serve a Larger Purpose" explores the democratic processes and purposes that reorient civic engagement to what the editors call "democratic engagement." The norms of democratic engagement are determined by values such as inclusiveness, collaboration, participation, task sharing, and reciprocity in public problem solving and an equality of respect for the knowledge and experience that everyone contributes to education, knowledge generation, and community building. This book shrewdly rethinks the culture of higher education.

Published by: Temple University Press

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pp. vii-xi

In the last decade, people in and around colleges and universities have been talking more and more about the civic role of their institutions as well as their disciplines or professions. Kettering Foundation research has tried to track what some call the “civic engagement movement” and look at its implications for two other phenomena. One is a serious problem for self-rule—that citizens have been pushed to the sidelines in our political system. The other is a problem of unrecognized potential—that communities and their societies of ...

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Introduction: "To Serve a Larger Purpose"

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pp. 1-13

We conceived of this book with a sense of urgency that has emerged from reflections on civic engagement work in higher education— the current state of which points to fragmentation and drift. Seemingly, civic engagement efforts have not, in large part, fulfilled Ernest Boyer’s call for higher education “to serve a larger purpose” (1996, p. 22). What Boyer was referring to was the democratic purpose of higher education, or...

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1. Democratic Engagement

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pp. 14-26

Like all movements, the civic engagement movement has struggled to find conceptual and operational coherence. Disparate strategies have produced internal tensions. One key dilemma has been whether the movement should confront and challenge the dominant institutional culture

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2. Idealism and Compromise and the Civic Engagement Movement

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pp. 27-48

The civic roots of American higher education can be traced back to its beginnings. The first institutions, colonial colleges, were established soon after European settlers arrived in order to ensure a continuity of religious and civic leadership. The founders of the college that is now Harvard University explained: ...

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3. Democratic Transformation through University-Assisted Community Schools

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pp. 49-81

This chapter is based on four propositions. First, the radical democratic transformation of colleges and universities is crucial to the democratic transformation of America into a genuinely democratic society. In the opening decade of the twenty-first century, it seems to us nearly axiomatic that universities are the most influential institution in advanced societies...

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4. Civic Professionalism

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pp. 82-101

We believe that higher education has a significant role to play in the reinvigoration of American democracy. We also believe that narrow specialization of academic interests and technocratic practices throughout colleges and universities cramps the work and learning within them, while dramatically limiting the contributions of higher education to the ...

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5. Collective Leadership for Engagement: Reclaiming the Public Purpose of Higher Education

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pp. 102-129

After nearly a quarter of a century of effort by several thousand presidents, chancellors, and chief academic officers, America’s colleges and universities appear to be no closer to a consensus about the role of higher education in ensuring a sustained and committed role for the academy in preparing civic-minded graduates, generating and applying knowledge about ...

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6. Chief Academic Officers and Community-Engaged Faculty Work

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pp. 130-153

I was, and now am again, a professor of English. Before becoming a professor of English again, I served as provost or in the Provost’s Office at four different universities. Neither of these titles is very useful in continuing conversation at the cocktail receptions so common in academic administrator calendars nowadays. If I say I am a professor of English, the inevitable response...

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7. Deliberative Democracy and Higher Education: Higher Education's Democratic Mission

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pp. 154-176

American higher education has always had an ambivalent relationship to democracy. On the one hand, colleges and universities have long asserted that a principal purpose of higher education is to prepare young people to be responsible and informed citizens. Thomas Jefferson, for example, advocated for a strong public education system and founded the University of Virginia because “whenever the people are well-informed, they can ...

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8. Faculty Civic Engagement: New Training, Assumptions, and Markets Needed for the Engaged American Scholar

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pp. 177-198

This chapter explores the evolution of the scholarship of engagement and institutional barriers for faculty involvement. in doing so, i discuss three major accomplishments of advocates of the scholarship of engagement in higher education. next, i consider three barriers to faculty engagement that seem to receive less “air time” in our discussions but that are at the center of faculty professional work and careers. Finally, i examine current and future trends in the appointment types, roles, and rewards of faculty work and ...

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9. Putting Students at the Center of Civic Engagement

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pp. 199-216

There has been much progress toward institutionalizing civic engagement in higher education, as the Democracy and Higher education colloquium at the Kettering Foundation and chapters in this book illustrate. Over the past decade, a laser-like focus on faculty and staff development has produced notable gains in the capacity of higher education to accomplish civic engagement outcomes, for students as well as the campus as a whole. yet we agree with the central premise set forth by the editors ...

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10. Civic Engagement on the Ropes?

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pp. 217-237

Has the civic engagement movement “stalled,” as some, including the editors of this volume (p. 4), have claimed? Does service-learning need to be “disciplined” in order to survive (Butin 2006)? mark Twain once famously quipped: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Can the same—mutatis mutandi—be said about the recent Certainly, few would deny that in a relatively short amount of time—approximately two decades—the civic engagement movement has made ...

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11. Remapping Education for Social Responsibility: Civic, Global, and U.S. Diversity

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pp. 238-264

In the fall of 1999, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) published a special issue of its quarterly journal, Peer Review, titled “Civic Learning in a Diverse Democracy,” from which the above quotation from...

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12. Sustained City-Campus Engagement: Developing an Epistemology for Our Time

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pp. 265-288

We, as Americans, are sharing a pivotal moment in history. We have elected an African American President to lead our union. Half a dozen states have enacted legislation affirming marriage as a civil right. A Latina has been confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. At the same time, hundreds of banks—large and small—have failed, corporations are filing for bankruptcy, people are losing their jobs and their pensions, families are ...

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13. Conclusion: Creating the Democratically Engaged University - Possibilities for Constructive Action

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pp. 289-300

The impetus for this book emerged from our observations of civic and community engagement efforts at American colleges and universities and our resulting conviction that the civic engagement movement had not yet fulfilled its great promise. There is no question that the past two decades have seen a dramatic increase in civic activities, such as service-learning...


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pp. 301-304


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pp. 305-312

E-ISBN-13: 9781439905081
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439905067

Publication Year: 2011