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2013-14

Book 1: College (Un)Bound

College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students by Jeffrey J. Selingo 

In College (Un)bound, Jeffrey J. Selingo, editor at large for The Chronicle for Higher Education, argues that America’s higher education system is broken. The great credential race has turned universities into big business and fostered an environment where middle tier colleges can command elite university-level tuition while concealing staggeringly low graduation rates and churning out students with few hard skills into the job market. Selingo not only turns a critical eye to the current state of affairs in higher education, but he also predicts how technology will transform it for the better. Free massive online open courses (MOOCs) and hybrid classes, adaptive learning software, and the unbundling of traditional degree credits will increase access to high quality education regardless of budget or location and tailor lesson plans to individual needs. One thing is certain—the Class of 2020 will have a radically different college experience than their parents.

  • Reading Dates: September 1st to October 1st
  • Discussion Dates: October 1st to October 15th

Book 2: Paying for the Party

Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality by Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Laura T. Hamilton

Two young women, dormitory mates, embark on their education at a big state university. Five years later, one is earning a good salary at a prestigious accounting firm. With no loans to repay, she lives in a fashionable apartment with her fiancé. The other woman, saddled with burdensome debt and a low GPA, is still struggling to finish her degree in tourism. In an era of skyrocketing tuition and mounting concern over whether college is "worth it," Paying for the Party is an indispensable contribution to the dialogue assessing the state of American higher education. A powerful exposé of unmet obligations and misplaced priorities, it explains in vivid detail why so many leave college with so little to show for it. Drawing on findings from a five-year interview study, Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton bring us to the campus of "MU," a flagship Midwestern public university, where we follow a group of women drawn into a culture of status seeking and sororities. Mapping different pathways available to MU students, the authors demonstrate that the most well-resourced and seductive route is a "party pathway" anchored in the Greek system and facilitated by the administration. This pathway exerts influence over the academic and social experiences of all students, and while it benefits the affluent and well-connected, Armstrong and Hamilton make clear how it seriously disadvantages the majority.

  • Reading Dates: October 15th to November 15th
  • Discussion Dates: November 15th to November 30th

Book 3: TBD

  • Reading Dates: Winter Break
  • Discussion Dates: January 6th or 7th

Book 4: Is College Worth It?

For many students, a bachelor's degree is considered the golden ticket to a more financially and intellectually fulfilling life. But the disturbing reality is that debt, unemployment, and politically charged pseudo learning are more likely outcomes for many college students today than full-time employment and time-honored knowledge.This raises the question: is college still worth it? Who is responsible for debt-saddled, undereducated students, and how do future generations of students avoid the same problems? In a time of economic uncertainty, what majors and schools will produce competitive graduates? Is College Worth It? uses personal experience, statistical analysis, and real-world interviews to provide answers to some of the most troubling social and economic problems of our time.

  • Reading Dates: January 8th to February 8th
  • Discussion Dates: February 10th to February 21st

Book 5: The Innovative Univeristy

The Innovative University:Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out by Clayton M. Christensen and Henry J. Eyring

The Innovative University illustrates how higher education can respond to the forces of disruptive innovation , and offers a nuanced and hopeful analysis of where the traditional university and its traditions have come from and how it needs to change for the future. Through an examination of Harvard and BYU-Idaho as well as other stories of innovation in higher education, Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring decipher how universities can find innovative, less costly ways of performing their uniquely valuable functions.

  • Reading Dates: February 21st to March 21st
  • Discussion Dates: March 21st to April 4th

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