Academic journal article The Journalism Educator

Reviews -- an American Imperative: Higher Expectations for Higher Education from the Wingspread Group on Higher Education

Academic journal article The Journalism Educator

Reviews -- an American Imperative: Higher Expectations for Higher Education from the Wingspread Group on Higher Education

Article excerpt

Wingspread Group on Higher Education (1993). An American Imperative: Higher Expectations for Higher Education. Racine, Wis.: The Johnson Foundation, Inc. 167 pp. Paperback, $14.95.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, the Wingspread Group reports that the sky is indeed falling.

"Education is in trouble and with it our nation's hopes for the future," the group's unnamed authors write. "...[S]ome faculties and institutions certify for graduation too many students who cannot read and write very well, too many whose intellectual depth and breadth are unimpressive, and too many whose skills are inadequate in the face of the demands of contemporary life."

Colleges and universities are failing, they say, not only by awarding degrees to students who haven't learned their lessons well, but also by not awarding degrees--by allowing "an unacceptably high percentage of students" to drop out of the educational process.

The Wingspread Group on Higher Education is a think-tank panel comprising 16 people, mostly educators but also authors, business executives, and government officials, chaired by William E. Brock, former Republican lawmaker and U.S. secretary of labor. It was created in 1993 under the aegis of four private foundations to examine what society needs from higher education. The result of its findings is a set of challenges.

Wingspread challenges colleges and universities to examine themselves and commit themselves to plans for improvement; to establish entrance and exit standards; to develop meaningful curricula; and to increase the sensitivity, social competence, and civility of their graduates. …

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