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The Attainment Agenda

State Policy Leadership in Higher Education

Laura W. Perna and Joni E. Finney foreword by Patrick M. Callan

Although the federal government invests substantial resources into student financial aid, states have the primary responsibility for policies that raise overall higher educational attainment and improve equity across groups. The importance of understanding how states may accomplish these goals has never been greater, as educational attainment is increasingly required for economic and social well-being of individuals and society. Drawing on data collected from case studies of the relationship between public policy and higher education performance in five states—Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Texas, and Washington—The Attainment Agenda offers a framework for understanding how state public policy can effectively promote educational attainment. Laura W. Perna and Joni E. Finney argue that there is no silver bullet to improve higher education attainment. Instead, achieving the required levels of attainment demands a comprehensive approach. State leaders must consider how performance in one area (such as degree completion) is connected to performance in other areas (such as preparation or affordability), how particular policies interact to produce expected and unexpected outcomes, and how policy approaches must be adapted to reflect their particular context. The authors call for greater attention to the state role in providing policy leadership and steering of higher education in order to advance a cohesive public agenda for higher education and adopting public policies that not only increase the demand for and supply of higher education but also level the playing field for higher educational opportunity. The insights offered in The Attainment Agenda have important implications for public policymakers, college and university leaders, and educational researchers interested in ensuring sustained higher education attainment.

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AUDEM: The International Journal of Higher Education and Democracy

Vol. 1 (2010) to current issue

AUDEM: The International Journal of Higher Education and Democracy grows out of the work of the Alliance of Universities for Democracy (AUDEM). AUDEM focuses on the integration of universities at competitive levels into the world academic communities. With this journal, AUDEM adds another tool in its effort to expand opportunities for international collaboration in higher education and to promote the role of higher education in social and civic development.

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Audience Expectations and Teacher Demands

Robert Brooke and John Hendricks

The audience—the community of readers who will use the texts a writer produces—must be an important influence on the writer for his or her work to be effective.

Robert Brooke and John Hendricks examine the difficult task of teaching "writing for an audience" in a classroom where students know that the teacher, not the addressed audience, assigns the grade.

The authors describe in detail a particular writing class, taught by Brooke and observed by Hendricks, that attempted to teach writing for an audience. By combining the experiences from their study with student reactions to the class, they draw some conclusions about the dynamics of teaching writing and about learning in general.

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Audubon

The Kentucky Years

L. Clark Keating

Kentucky attracted an amazing variety of would-be settlers in pioneer days, but none with brighter talent than John James Audubon. Although his years in the state came long before publication of the monumental Birds of America, he was already painting the scenes from nature that were to make him famous.

Audubon: The Kentucky Years is the captivating account of Audubon's sojourn in Kentucky from his arrival in in 1807 as a gregarious twenty-two-year-old storekeeper to his departure in 1819, when his failure in business was about to force him to seek a livelihood from his skill as an artist.

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Austerity Blues

Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education

Michael Fabricant and Stephen Brier

Public higher education in the postwar era was a key economic and social driver in American life, making college available to millions of working men and women. Since the 1980s, however, government austerity policies and politics have severely reduced public investment in higher education, exacerbating inequality among poor and working-class students of color, as well as part-time faculty. In Austerity Blues, Michael Fabricant and Stephen Brier examine these devastating fiscal retrenchments nationally, focusing closely on New York and California, both of which were leaders in the historic expansion of public higher education in the postwar years and now are at the forefront of austerity measures.

Fabricant and Brier describe the extraordinary growth of public higher education after 1945, thanks largely to state investment, the alternative intellectual and political traditions that defined the 1960s, and the social and economic forces that produced austerity policies and inequality beginning in the late 1970s and 1980s. A provocative indictment of the negative impact neoliberal policies have visited on the public university, especially the growth of class, racial, and gender inequalities, Austerity Blues also analyzes the many changes currently sweeping public higher education, including the growing use of educational technology, online learning, and privatization, while exploring how these developments hurt students and teachers. In its final section, the book offers examples of oppositional and emancipatory struggles and practices that can help reimagine public higher education in the future.

The ways in which factors as diverse as online learning, privatization, and disinvestment cohere into a single powerful force driving deepening inequality is the central theme of the book. Incorporating the differing perspectives of students, faculty members, and administrators, the book reveals how public education has been redefined as a private benefit, often outsourced to for-profit vendors who "sell" education back to indebted undergraduates. Over the past twenty years, tuition and related student debt have climbed precipitously and degree completion rates have dropped. Not only has this new austerity threatened public universities’ ability to educate students, Fabricant and Brier argue, but it also threatens to undermine the very meaning and purpose of public higher education in offering poor and working-class students access to a quality education in a democracy. Synthesizing historical sources, social science research, and contemporary reportage, Austerity Blues will be of interest to readers concerned about rising inequality and the decline of public higher education.

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Authoring

An Essay for the English Profession on Potentiality and Singularity

Janis Haswell and Richard Haswell

The postmodern conviction that meaning is indeterminate and self is an illusion, though fascinating and defensible in theory, leaves a number of scholarly and pedagogical questions unsatisfied. Authoring—the  phenomenological act or felt sense of creating a text—is “a remarkably black box,” say Haswell and Haswell, yet it should be one of the central preoccupations of scholars in English studies. Not only can the study of authoring accommodate the “social turn” since postmodernism, they argue, but it accommodates as well conceptions of, and the lived experience of, personal potentiality and singularity.

      Without abandoning the value of postmodern perspectives, Haswell and Haswell use their own perspective of authorial potentiality and singularity to reconsider staple English-studies concerns such as gender, evaluation, voice, character, literacy, feminism, self, interpretation, assessment, signature, and taste. The essay is unique as well in the way that its authors embrace often competing realms of English studies, drawing examples and arguments equally from literary and compositionist research.

                In the process, the Haswells have created a Big Idea book, and a critique of the field. Their point is clear: the singular person/mysterious black box/author merits deeper consideration than we have given it, and the book’s crafted and woven explorations provide the intellectual tools to move beyond both political divisions and theoretical impasses.

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The Autobiography of Citizenship

Assimilation and Resistance in U.S. Education

Tova Cooper

At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States was faced with a new and radically mixed population, one that included freed African Americans, former reservation Indians, and a burgeoning immigrant population.  In The Autobiography of Citizenship, Tova Cooper looks at how educators tried to impose unity on this divergent population, and how the new citizens in turn often resisted these efforts, reshaping mainstream U.S. culture and embracing their own view of what it means to be an American. 


The Autobiography of Citizenship traces how citizenship education programs began popping up all over the country, influenced by the progressive approach to hands-on learning popularized by John Dewey and his followers. Cooper offers an insightful account of these programs, enlivened with compelling readings of archival materials such as photos of students in the process of learning; autobiographical writing by both teachers and new citizens; and memoirs, photos, poems, and novels by authors such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Jane Addams, Charles Reznikoff, and Emma Goldman. Indeed, Cooper provides the first comparative, inside look at these citizenship programs, revealing that they varied wildly: at one end, assimilationist boarding schools required American Indian children to transform their dress, language, and beliefs, while at the other end the libertarian Modern School encouraged immigrant children to frolic naked in the countryside and learn about the world by walking, hiking, and following their whims. 

Here then is an engaging portrait of what it was like to be, and become, a U.S. citizen one hundred years ago, showing that what it means to be “American” is never static.

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Banana Bending

Asian-Australian and Asian-Canadian Literatures

Tseen-ling Khoo

The book examines the limits and possibilities for these diasporic literatures in multicultural societies and their placement in relation to national literatures.

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Baptism by Yang Jiang

Translated by Judith M. Amory, Yaohua Shi ,Jiang Yang

The characters in this vivid, witty, and engrossing novel, set in a Beijing literary institute right after the revolution, are a group of intellectuals from the old society adjusting to a new reality. There is a love story, intrigue, back-biting, and deception, familiar circumstances of academic life.

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Basics of Language for Language Learners

Literature, Language, and Aesthetics

Learning a language involves so much more than just rote memorization of rules. Basics of Language for Language Learners systematically explores all the aspects of language central to second language learning: the sounds of language, the different grammatical structures, the social functions of communication, and the psychology of language learning and use. Peter W. Culicover and Elizabeth V. Hume guide the reader through all the nuances that empower a person, regardless of age, to be a much more effective, efficient, and proficient language learner. Unlike books specific to one single language, Basics of Language will help students of all languages. Readers will gain insight into the structure and use of their own language and will therefore see more clearly how the language they are learning differs from their first language. Language instructors will find the approach provocative, and the book will stimulate many new and effective ideas for teaching. Both a textbook and a reference work, Basics of Language will enhance the learning experience for anyone taking a foreign language course as well as the do-it-yourself learner.

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