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"To Serve a Larger Purpose"

"To Serve a Larger Purpose": Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education

John Saltmarsh
Matthew Hartley
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    "To Serve a Larger Purpose"
    Book Description:

    "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.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0508-1
    Subjects: Education, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    David Mathews
  4. INTRODUCTION “To Serve a Larger Purpose”
    (pp. 1-13)
    John Saltmarsh and Matthew Hartley

    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 what he called its “civic mandate” (1990, p. 16). Here, we are primarily concerned with two related dimensions of this deficit of purpose: first, that the dominant paradigm of civic engagement...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Democratic Engagement
    (pp. 14-26)
    John Saltmarsh and Matthew Hartley

    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 or accommodate the status quo. For example, in the mid-1990s, a number of service-learning proponents argued that the surest means of anchoring it in the core work of the academy was to adhere to academic norms. While this helped engender widespread legitimacy of the practice, it also has come to mean that on many campuses the premise of service-learning is identical to that...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Idealism and Compromise and the Civic Engagement Movement
    (pp. 27-48)
    Matthew Hartley

    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:

    After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had built our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and led the civil government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Democratic Transformation through University-Assisted Community Schools
    (pp. 49-81)
    Lee Benson, Ira Harkavy and John Puckett

    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. As William Rainey Harper, John Gardner, Ernest Boyer, and Derek Bok, among others, have noted, universities possess enormous resources (most significantly human resources), play a leading role in developing and transmitting new discoveries and educating societal leaders, and basically shape the schooling system.

    Second, as it currently...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Civic Professionalism
    (pp. 82-101)
    Harry C. Boyte and Eric Fretz

    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 work of democracy and the collective redress of the challenges of a new century. Overspecialization and technocracy thwart our institutions’ capacities to interact in fluid and respectful ways with citizens and civic institutions outside higher education in generating the knowledge needed in a flourishing democratic society.

    Others outside the civic...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Collective Leadership for Engagement: Reclaiming the Public Purpose of Higher Education
    (pp. 102-129)
    William M. Plater

    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 community engagement, and taking leadership in the exercise of democratic processes for the benefit of the common good than they were at the height of their work in 2000. Beyond individual actions, these leaders have formed organizations to support ideals based on community engagement, directed...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Chief Academic Officers and Community-Engaged Faculty Work
    (pp. 130-153)
    John Woodrow Presley

    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 is “I hated English in high school. It was my worst subject.” If I said, “I am a provost,” the comeback was always, “What’s that? What does a provost do?”

    Well, among other duties, provosts are expected...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Deliberative Democracy and Higher Education: Higher Education’s Democratic Mission
    (pp. 154-176)
    Nancy Thomas and Peter Levine

    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 be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights” (quoted in Lipscomb and Burgh 1903–1904, p....

  12. CHAPTER 8 Faculty Civic Engagement: New Training, Assumptions, and Markets Needed for the Engaged American Scholar
    (pp. 177-198)
    KerryAnn O’Meara

    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 where community engagement might find future traction. Throughout the discussion, I draw a distinction between what Cuban (1988)...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Putting Students at the Center of Civic Engagement
    (pp. 199-216)
    Richard M. Battistoni and Nicholas V. Longo

    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 of this volume, who are concerned that the civic engagement movement has “struggled to find conceptual and operational coherence.” As the editors...

  14. CHAPTER 10 Civic Engagement on the Ropes?
    (pp. 217-237)
    Edward Zlotkowski

    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 alarm being voiced in some corners of the engagement camp?

    Certainly, few would deny that in a relatively short amount of time — approximately two decades — the civic engagement movement has made some impressive gains. In a 2005 essay entitled “The Disciplines and the Public Good,” I...

  15. CHAPTER 11 Remapping Education for Social Responsibility: Civic, Global, and U.S. Diversity
    (pp. 238-264)
    Caryn McTighe Musil

    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 Rafael Heller is derived. The issue captured the dynamics between two powerful but self-contained education movements, each of which was cresting. One was connected to U.S. diversity; the other, to service in the community. In the first, there was frantic but fruitful attentiveness to an investigation of diversity, which was the harvest of the slow move from exclusionary to inclusionary campuses that gathered...

  16. CHAPTER 12 Sustained City-Campus Engagement: Developing an Epistemology for Our Time
    (pp. 265-288)
    Lorlene Hoyt

    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 losing their homes to foreclosure, and every twenty-nine seconds a student drops out of high school. This historic moment of social transformation and economic upheaval demands that we rethink...

  17. CHAPTER 13 Conclusion: Creating the Democratically Engaged University—Possibilities for Constructive Action
    (pp. 289-300)
    Matthew Hartley and John Saltmarsh

    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 and engaged scholarship. Also, diversity initiatives have sought to promote greater racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural understanding and equity. Deliberative democracy efforts on many campuses have spurred dialogues and debate about difficult societal issues. The breadth and scope of these activities constitute a firm...

    (pp. 301-304)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 305-312)