A New Agenda for Higher Education: Shaping a Life of the Mind for Practice
A New Agenda for Higher Education
Historically, higher education has aimed to enhance thepossibilities of life for its students. The liberal arts andsciences have sought to do this through cultivating in students a"life of the mind"—the intellectual dimensions of students'lives such as problem-solving capacities and critical thinking. Onthe other hand, the professional schools have focused on providingthe means whereby students might "make something of themselves" byacquiring competence in specific skills valuable to others.
In A New Agenda for Higher Education, the authors endorse highereducation's utility for enhancing the practical as well asintellectual dimensions of life by developing a third, differentconception of educational purpose. Based on The Carnegie Foundationfor the Advancement of Teaching seminar that brought togethereducators from six professional fields with faculty from theliberal arts and sciences, A New Agenda for Higher Educationproposes an educational aim of "practical reason," focusing on theinterdependence of liberal education and professional training.
The book includes case studies of instructors from a wide arrayof disciplines including those who educate their students forpractical responsibility. The authors document the process by whichthey learned to collaborate with one another across fields and, inthe end, produced a new discourse of practical reason. The bookalso offers faculty, administrators, and those interested in thepromise of higher education valuable suggestions on how to putthese insights to work in their own academic contexts. It promisesto stir and support the development of practical wisdom amongstudents of all fields who are preparing for a wide variety ofcareers and callings.