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What is college for? The public purpose of higher education

Lagemann, E. C., & Lewis, H. (Eds.). What is college for? The public purpose of higher education. Teachers College Press, New York, 2011. ISBN: 0807752754. Pages: 176.

What roles do American colleges and universities play in American education and American society? Should higher education serve a greater public interest? What are the social purposes of higher education? Why is the quality and direction of higher education a matter of public purpose that demands public examination? In what ways should colleges and universities be asked to participate in public controversies? What should colleges do to foster greater intellectual curiosity and aesthetic appreciation in their students and communities, and why is this important for all Americans? These are the essential questions that are raised in the latest book edited by Lagemann and Lewis, which comes at a time when higher education attendance has never felt more mandatory for career success and economic growth.

This book is a set of critical essays speculating on the core values of American higher education, such as civic education, science, the liberal arts, intellectual community and democracy. It opens with a chapter written by the editors, and is followed by five additional chapters dedicated to various aspects of the multifaceted raison d’être of universities and colleges in the American context.

Teachers College Press