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College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students Hardcover – May 7, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Selingo envisions a fundamental shift in how degrees are awarded — not on the basis of credit hours completed but on competency demonstrated. The colleges that survive will be those, in Selingo’s words, that ‘prove their worth.’” —The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling look at higher education. Selingo is critical, but he’s also encouraging. With so much time and money at stake, the issues he raises and the possibilities he explores are well worth your time." —The Washington Post

"For a book about complicated policy and economic trends, this one is very well told. Selingo moves seamlessly from legal and regulatory decisions to the real experiences of students." —The Washington Monthly

"This eye-opening book tells an important and overlooked story about how higher education in America has lost its way. This is a must-read for both policymakers and anyone struggling with the decision of choosing a college." —Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone

"For parents and their children looking for quality education, this book provides invaluable assistance by taking a clear-eyed view on what matters: excellence in teaching, a first-rate learning environment, and a commitment to preparing students for the job market." —Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group

"Part cultural critique, part trend-spotting, and part advice for students and parents navigating a flawed system. [College (Un)bound] delivers a powerful message to colleges themselves: the system is broken, and both their success as institutions and the future success of our workforce depends on their willingness to incorporate unbundled, lower-cost systems that allow students to customize their education." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Parents should put College (Un)bound at the top of their lists…[it is an] indispensable guidebook to a rocky and shifting terrain." —The Plain Dealer

"Once in a generation, a book forces us to reconsider the fundamentals of higher education—and College (Un)bound is that book for the Wireless Generation." —David L. Marcus, author of Acceptance

"[An] eye-opening look at the state of higher education…College (Un)bound is a must-read for everyone interested in higher education and how technology will revolutionize it in the coming years." —Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity

"Jeff Selingo is one of the most respected observers of American higher education. In College (Un)bound, he shares his in-depth observations of colleges and the environment in which we function. Not all will agree with his observations, conclusions, predictions and recommendations, but all will gain from this thoughtful, well-written, provocative volume. I highly recommend it." —David J. Skorton, President of Cornell University

"You can wade through the shelf full of books on the changes coming to American colleges and universities–or you can read this one." —Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University and former Governor of Indiana

"America's higher ed system is at a crossroads today…Selingo introduces us to the students, teachers, and entrepreneurs who are rethinking our iconic vision of what college will mean for students in the next decade." —Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class

"Among the many books examining current changes in and challenges to higher education, College (Un)bound is both the most comprehensive and the most provocative." —Rebecca Chopp, President of Swarthmore College

"Jeffrey Selingo combines solid data with compelling anecdotes to produce a richly textured account of the transformations taking place in American higher education today. By illustrating larger trends with stories about their impact on individual students and families, his book offers precisely the kind of student-centered approach that he is advocating." —Alison Byerly, president-elect, Lafayette College

“[College (Un)bound] is a book that should be read by the parents of high school seniors, high school guidance counselors, university trustees, faculty and administrators; and most important—by potential college students themselves.” —Steve Trachtenberg, former president, George Washington University

"A mixture of alarm and hope, wisdom and portending." —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

JEFFREY J. SELINGO is the leading authority on higher education worldwide and editor at large for The Chronicle of Higher Education. He frequently speaks before national higher-education groups and appears regularly on regional and national radio and television programs, including NPR, PBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CBS. His writing on higher education and technology has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post. The National Magazine Awards, Education Writers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Associated Press have recognized him for his work. He is a senior fellow at Education Sector, an independent education policy think tank. www.jeffselingo.com

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Harvest (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544027078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544027077
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeffrey J. Selingo is a leading authority on higher education worldwide and a contributing editor for "The Chronicle of Higher Education". He frequently speaks before national higher-education groups and appears regularly on regional and national radio and television programs, including NPR, PBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CBS. His writing on higher education and technology has appeared in the "New York Times", the "Washington Post", and the "Huffington Post". The National Magazine Awards, Education Writers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Associated Press have recognized him for his work.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

240 of 250 people found the following review helpful By Monica J. Kern VINE VOICE on April 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a former college professor who left academia a year ago, in large part because I did not care for the trends I was seeing in higher education. So when I had the opportunity to review this book, I was eager to do so, especially given the background and expertise of the author, Jeffrey Selingo, who is the Editor at Large of the The Chronicle of Higher Education. I was hoping to find a balanced and nuanced review of the changes taking place in colleges today. Instead, this book--other than the obligatory criticisms of the high tuitions and large debt loads families are assuming these days to put their children through college--presents a largely glowing portrait of where college is heading.

Take, for example, the topic of online classes, which occupies a large part of Selingo's book. This is a hot trend in colleges today for two main reasons: Colleges make a bucketload of money off them, and students love them. Selingo obviously loves them, too, and he waxes eloquently at great length about their promise for delivering convenient and inexpensive courses to students. He notes on p.99 that "a vocal slice of professors and administrators remain skeptical" of online classes, even though "every new study of online learning" arrives at essentially the same conclusion that students perform better in online courses that traditional courses. This is only one small example of sweeping statements that Selingo makes without offering any supporting evidence, and it seriously distorts the actual state of the pedagogical research, because it is emphatically NOT true that every study supports the superiority, or even equality, of online classes compared to traditional classes.
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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let us start with a statement college professors, homeschool advocates, and Jeffrey Selingo can surely agree upon: American higher education is too expensive. Budget cuts have jacked tuition, schools spend scarce resources outside the classroom, administrative roles have become patronage plums, and deregulated loans put many working-class students in debt they may never beat. The question becomes: what do we do about it?

Books like this one matter, not because they attempt to answer the question, but because they advance the debate. No 250-page book can truly address all the options. Believe me, several noble attempts have crossed my desk. But they inevitably reflect the authors' preferences for what American education should resemble. Therein, maybe, lies the problem, that American higher ed has become perilously homogenous.

Selingo, a respected educational journalist, addresses the question from multiple angles, gathering diverse sources with divergent views, reflecting real trends in recent debate. Because he addresses so much, I find myself swinging wildly. At one moment, I pump my fist and shout "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Then the next moment, I palm my face and mutter "No! No! No!" Then I ask myself the real question: why do I feel so strongly?

Education, Selingo says, has suffered in the last decade from a "race to the top" that involves little actual educational content. Highly groomed campuses and pricey sports championships attract new enrollees and alumni donations. But colleges, particularly private colleges, have offset these expenses by hiring adjunct instructors, concentrating efforts on grant-earning grad students, and packing undergrads into lecture halls of questionable pedagogical value.
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146 of 163 people found the following review helpful By Dienne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The typical state university or research institution is the amalgamation of three different business models: a consulting firm that offers solutions (the university's research function), a manufacturer that adds value to a raw material (the teaching function), and an online auction site that facilitates networks (the life and career function)."
--Jeffrey Selingo, COLLEGE UNBOUND, p. 68

So Jeffrey Selingo is telling us that students are "raw materials" which gain value through the production process of "manufacturers" so that the finished product can be "auctioned" to employers as purchasers. If you can get your head around this conceptualization of education, you will be well on your way to understanding Selingo's argument (disjointed though it may be) in this book.

Higher education is, according to Selingo, broken. The whole system needs to be revamped from nearly the top (excluding the "elite" institutions, that is) to the bottom. And Selingo has been hanging out with just the educational entrepreneurs to do the job. If it's new-fangled and glossy and sizzling, Selingo is all for it. Everything else is just a relic of the entrenched status quo of universities stuck in their "traditional" methods which no longer serve the needs of twenty-first century students. Having heard most of these same market-based, "reform" arguments made about K-12 education, I'm already on my guard.

There are so many problems with higher education that I hardly know where to start, but one of the biggest problems Selingo seems to have is the "bundling" of services at colleges.
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