Higher Education in Transition: The Challenges of the New Millennium

By Joseph Losco; Brian L. Fife | Go to book overview

decades has also occurred in higher education. This conservative retrenchment is not only indicative of the federal judiciary, but public opinion as well, where many have come to conclude that policies such as affirmative action are no longer plausible. Wilson concludes that a dramatic policy similar to the G.I. Bill is needed to continue to enhance diversity in higher education and to provide equal opportunities for all citizens.

Finally, no volume on the challenges awaiting higher education would be complete without a discussion of the impact of technology. As in most endeavors, technological innovation is changing the way higher education operates. Opportunities to enhance teaching in the classroom, to offer courses over long distances, and to conduct research across continents have the potential of enriching all aspects of higher education in the new millennium. In Chapter 9, Karen Hardy Cárdenas offers a framework for evaluating the impact of technology in higher education. While educators, often seen as traditionalists, must not shy away from technology, neither should they embrace it uncritically. Cárdenas reminds us that modern technology like any tool must be assessed in terms of its usefulness in helping educators and researchers do a better job of teaching and researching.

It is the hope of the authors and editors that the issues addressed in these pages will begin a policy discussion about the future direction and course of American higher education. This discussion must be broadly engaged. While those inside the academy seemingly have the largest stake in the outcome of the debate to come, they must be mindful of the larger community and goals they serve. The public, too, must become part of the dialogue. Whether in their role as parents of college students, taxpayers who support significant federal and state investments (even at private colleges), or members of the business community who rely on the academy for advances in knowledge and the training of the work force, the stakes of this debate for all Americans are significant. Policy makers are already engaged in considering these issues. They must be aware of competing interests and be alert to generating consensus in bridging the significant accomplishments of the past with the challenges of the future.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Canby Henry S. 1915. College Sons and College Fathers. New York: Harper & Brothers. U.S. Department of Education. 1999. The Digest of Education Statistics, 1996. http:// nces.ed.gov/pubs/d96/D96T168.html.

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