Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 31, 2010
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Taylor expands on his controversial 2009 op-ed essay in the New York Times that questioned long-standing traditions and practices of American universities, from tenure to strict delineation of academic departments. Worries about outdated practices in higher education are exacerbated by shrinking endowments of universities hurt by the financial crisis, a crisis threatening the very existence of some institutions. Taylor begins with a historical perspective, including Immanuel Kant’s enduring vision of the university and the evolution to overspecialization that drives academic disciplines, tenure, and the valuing of research over teaching. Drawing on his experiences at Williams College and Columbia University, Taylor also offers examples of creative solutions from multidisciplinary courses taught by shared faculty to teleconferencing technology. Universities might also consider partnering with other universities, museums, and think tanks and even franchising universities globally. Taylor argues passionately for more open ideas on what is valuable to learn, in what format and through what methods, for a generation raised on the Internet and iPods. --Vanessa Bush
“Mark Taylor—a deeply original scholar and nationally celebrated teacher—sees American higher education as a bubble about to burst. For your students’ sake, your teachers’ sake, your childrens’ sake, and your country’s sake, read this book while there is still time.”
“Sure to provoke heated debate, this book convincingly tells us what we don’t want to hear: our colleges and universities are no longer sustainable—either financially or programmatically. Mark Taylor provocatively calls for big changes, both in how we use technology to help deliver educational services and in the role of professors. We should pay attention, or we will pay an enormous price.”
-Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education
“One of the jobs of a public intellectual is to warn us when he sees a fast-approaching freight train bearing down on us. In Crisis on Campus, Mark Taylor does that and much more. He offers specific and often radical suggestions about how to make higher education more fulfilling for students and more relevant to the networked world of the 21st century.”
“This is a book that needed to be written and one that must be read. Mark Taylor not only reveals an unclothed emperor; he also provides guidance to those of us who would properly serve as weavers. The only thing better than reading this book would be to have written it.”
-E. Gordon Gee, President of the Ohio State University
“Feisty . . . Measured in tone but devastating.”
-Christopher Shea, The New York Times Book Review
“Provocative . . . Cogent . . . Taylor has written a manifesto informed by his experience and dedication to innovative higher education, and he has pointed us to fundamental problems that must be addressed. We should be grateful.”
-Michael S. Roth, The Los Angeles Times
“At heart, Taylor has an old-fashioned sense of what it takes for students to become good writers and good thinkers: for starters, a lot of practice at writing and thinking . . . Technology can’t make a better curriculum: that will have to come from reformers who, like Taylor, have not forgotten the value of good thinking, good writing and a well-argued essay.”
-Naomi Schaefer Riley, The Wall Street Journal
“Taylor demonstrates an exuberant willingness to take on academic conventions . . . His innovative proposals will generate thoughtful, occasionally angry responses from academic leaders and interested laypeople alike. Serious, challenging, and well-written.”
“Taylor’s tone is neither whimsical nor utopian . . . He writes with urgency and conviction . . . Highly provocative and certain to stimulate.”
“His radical proposals notwithstanding, Taylor’s dedication to scholarship and his concern for students is profound.”
“Taylor argues passionately for more open ideas on what is valuable to learn, in what format and through what methods, for a generation raised on the Internet and iPods.”
Top customer reviews
By coincidence, at the time I was finishing the book, the 09/20/2010 edition of Newsweek arrived with an article titled "The trouble with going global". The NYU venture in Abu Dhabi campus does not get favorable reviews. Harassment of human-rights activists is mentioned. The article concludes "... we can't help but feel that ill-considered adventures abroad can only strain what's left of our higher education at home". The post-Columbia, post-Williams world maybe needed a better vignette.
The author's specialty in Religious Studies handicaps the book in more substantial ways, at least for me: a lack of analysis of science and engineering education. I would not advise an American student to use a study of Confucianism, traditional Chinese painting, or other traditional Religious-Studies cultural lenses, for the purpose of figuring out why a young person in Nanjing is beating her at own her Western-reductionist game of mastering the principles of electrical engineering. It might be better for the American to study options for conceding the game and to study options for alternative career plans, based on a raw analysis of the international economy, rather than an analysis of cultural diversity. The author's personal saga, for example highlighting how the job prospects for current Ph.D.s in Religious Studies are so much different from that of his own generation, is certainly readable. However, the parallels with the experiences of degree holders in science and engineering are rather modest.
Parts of the book are worthy of five stars: sharing verbatim responses to the author's incendiary NYT editorial, highlighting the impact of the financial meltdown on higher education, an analogous lack of fluidity and value in intellectual capital, eyewitness history of the epochs of identity politics and political correctness, the timidity of the aging faculty to embrace the online technology and networking, the timidity of universities to impose a yearly 5% salary reduction on tenured professors (unless offset by a 5% raise for meritorious performance). Much of the analysis about the educational failures of the university lecture hall has been stated elsewhere. The author makes a good case for the impending financial failure, as the large captive audience, a prime source of university revenue, is about to walk away.
Concise: 221 small pages with big font.
Provocative: Big ideas and insightful critiques of the higher ed labor market, curriculum, organizational structure etc.
Passionate: Taylor is passionate about teaching and learning, and believes that institutions of higher learning must evolve and reform to continue to thrive.
Solutions: Proposed solutions, beyond dismantling tenure (for the non-tenured) do not address fundamental issues of cost and access.
Ahistorical: The current state of higher ed is not placed within an historical context, making analysis of issues and problems less informative.
Economics: The economic aspects of higher ed are not analyzed. Chapter on tuition focusses on "sticker" price, not accounting for true costs of tuition.
Book Club: Great book to a campus book club - will get lots of discussion.
Speaker: I bet Taylor would make a great speaker on campus.
Readable: Book is short and an easy read - good chance that people will read for a discussion.
Elite Bias: Taylor seems to be writing primarily for institutions similar to where he has taught (Williams, Columbia) - failing to address the state of community colleges and other Institutions
For-Profits Excluded: Limited discussion of the role of for-profits in the educational landscape.
Limited Examples: 'Crisis on Campus' would have benefited from more examples of innovative institutions, programs, and leaders in higher education.
Have any of your read 'Crisis on Campus'? Plan to read? Thoughts?
What are you reading?
Why doesn't Taylor just say, "bring on the austerity measures!!!"
American education has been dying a slow, prolonged, agonizing death since the onslaught of globalization and the corporatization of America. "Higher education" is just one of the symptoms.*
But seeing how Taylor's "rationalization proposals" have made it into a well-praised op-ed piece of the NY Times* (one of the major corporate voices of America), look to see them brought into action, in the not-too-distant future.
*"GRADUATE education is the Detroit of higher learning."
COO, Total Career Success
Author,Job Search: The Total System (3rd Ed)
Most recent customer reviews
Tenure is virtually already dead.Read more