Fixing College Education
Since his early days at the University of California, Berkeley, when he was fired forrefusing to sign a loyalty oath during the Red Scare, Charles Muscatine has been a dedicated teacherand higher education reformer. Upon his reinstatement at Berkeley, he founded ",Strawberry CreekCollege,", a six-year experiment using full professors and small classes to teachlower-division students. Drawing on this belief in undergraduate teaching, Muscatine's newbook now offers a radical new design for American college education.Muscatine begins withthe observation that the mediocre undergraduate curriculum offered by most colleges and universitiestoday is based on outdated ideas of what should be taught and what constitutes good teaching. Although Muscatine is himself a well-established research scholar, he contends that thepublish-or-perish ",research religion", of college and university faculties hasseriously damaged undergraduate education. He offers a clear distinction between publishableresearch and the scholarship necessary for good teaching. Furthermore, he recommends major changesin the education of professors, including reconsidering both the requirement of the book-lengthdissertation and the current organization of graduate departments. Fixing CollegeEducation predicts new roles for students and faculty, redefines educational breadth anddepth, and calls for deeper assessment of learning and teaching. Muscatine highlights theoutstanding colleges and universities, including Harvard, Boston University's UniversityProfessor's Program, Evergreen State College, and Fairhaven College at Western WashingtonUniversity, that have already remade their curricula successfully or adopted features like the oneshe proposes. Muscatine argues that the new curriculum is better able than the old to produce goodscholars and good citizens for the twenty-first century.
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