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Boyte on Higher Ed’s role in “Regrowing Democracy”

In his June 15, 2015 op-ed “Regrowing Democracy–The Role of Higher Education,” Harry Boyte calls on higher education to reassert itself as a space for fostering “skills of a democratic way of life” and for tying “work with public purposes” not just with job preparation. He suggests that higher education’s “democracy mission has eroded as an “Ivory Tower” culture has taken hold.”

Yet he also indicates that “stirrings of a movement to renew higher education’s democracy purpose are appearing, tied to educating for work for the common good, colleges that are part of the life of communities, and a revitalized vision of democracy as a way of life.” He offers as an example the work of Chancellor Nancy Cantor of Rutgers University-Newark (N.J.). She calls for colleges and “universities to be citizens of a place, not on the side lines studying it.” Her opening plenary at our recent 2015 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting” underscored this call and provided a lens and jumping-off point for participating colleges and universities to explore their own contributions to “regrowing democracy.”



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