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Accountability, pragmatic aims, and the American university

Martínez-Alemán, A. M. Accountability, pragmatic aims, and the American university. Routledge, New York, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-415-99163-6. Pages: 140.

To what extent is academic freedom challenged by the rise of accountability and its demand for standardisation in instruction and knowledge? How do the current demands for accountability challenge the nature and character of the faculty? How do faculty respond to these challenges? These are some of the questions that are raised in this new book on university-level teaching and learning accountability in the United States.

By examining key historical periods in American higher education, the author explores the democratic ideals of the academy in the US context, particularly through lens of John Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy. Against this backdrop, she presents the challenges faced by American higher education as it confronts the contemporary accountability movement, specifically in relation to the teaching of undergraduates, data and empirical research on college teaching and learning, and the institutional policies for graduate student and faculty teaching development. Fundamentally, the author is focused on revealing the tensions between the democratic ‘heart’ of the American university and the managerial economies of these institutions today.