Mary E. Clark and Sandra A. Wawrytko
This book presents the major addresses at a very remarkable conference, one that we believe could well revolutionize what is taught in our universities and colleges. To most of us in academe, "curricular change" has become a ho-hum phrase, on the order of a magnitude 3.0 tremor on the Richter scale of our intellectual horizons, scarcely arousing us to more than momentary diversion from our scholarly routines. 1 The frequency and inconsequential nature of these little jolts lulls us into ignoring them; we become dangerously habituated, forgetting that repeated small tremors indicate significant faults in the underlying territory that will one day totally rearrange the academic landscape. In our view this conference was a quantitatively different order of magnitude warning, an intellectual jolt of order 6.0 or 7.0--portending sweeping, indeed cataclysmic changes in the near future.
Under the overall theme "Rethinking the Curriculum," the conference discussed the intellectual changes needed to bring the academic world into meaningful touch with today's global realities. The consensus was that this cannot occur by the usual imperceptible adjustments in our mental landscape--our disciplinary territories. Rather it demands literally toppling many of the shaky pillars on which the conventional disciplines are based and erecting from the rubble, sounder, more functional visions of reality. As in preparing for earthquakes, we have the options of foresight: an orderly dismantling and reassembling of our intellectual architecture, or of waiting until the ineluctable tectonic forces of global reality climax, collapsing the academic world into an unserviceable heap of useless intellectual masonry.