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Crisis on Campus

A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities

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eBook published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
A provocative look at the troubled present state of American higher education and a passionately argued and learned manifesto for its future.

In Crisis on Campus, Mark C. Taylor—chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University and a former professor at Williams College—expands on and refines the ideas presented in his widely read and hugely controversial 2009 New York Times op-ed. His suggestions for the ivory tower are both thought-provoking and rigorous: End tenure. Restructure departments to encourage greater cooperation among existing disciplines. Emphasize teaching rather than increasingly rarefied research. And bring that teaching to new domains, using emergent online networks to connect students worldwide.

As a nation, he argues, we fail to make such necessary and sweeping changes at our peril. Taylor shows us the already-rampant consequences of decades of organizational neglect. We see promising graduate students in a distinctly unpromising job market, relegated—if they’re lucky—to positions that take little advantage of their training and talent. We see recent undergraduates with massive burdens of debt, and anxious parents anticipating the inflated tuitions we will see in ten or twenty years. We also see students at all levels chafing under the restrictions of traditional higher education, from the structures of assignments to limits on courses of study. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Accommodating the students of today and anticipating those of tomorrow, attuned to schools’ financial woes and the skyrocketing cost of education, Taylor imagines a new system—one as improvisational, as responsive to new technologies and as innovative as are the young members of the iPod and Facebook generation.

In Crisis on Campus, we have an iconoclastic, necessary catalyst for a national debate long overdue.
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A provocative look at the troubled present state of American higher education and a passionately argued and learned manifesto for its future.

In Crisis on Campus, Mark C. Taylor—chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University and a former professor at Williams College—expands on and refines the ideas presented in his widely read and hugely controversial 2009 New York Times op-ed. His suggestions for the ivory tower are both thought-provoking and rigorous: End tenure. Restructure departments to encourage greater cooperation among existing disciplines. Emphasize teaching rather than increasingly rarefied research. And bring that teaching to new domains, using emergent online networks to connect students worldwide.

As a nation, he argues, we fail to make such necessary and sweeping changes at our peril. Taylor shows us the already-rampant consequences of decades of organizational neglect. We see promising graduate students in a distinctly unpromising job market, relegated—if they’re lucky—to positions that take little advantage of their training and talent. We see recent undergraduates with massive burdens of debt, and anxious parents anticipating the inflated tuitions we will see in ten or twenty years. We also see students at all levels chafing under the restrictions of traditional higher education, from the structures of assignments to limits on courses of study. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Accommodating the students of today and anticipating those of tomorrow, attuned to schools’ financial woes and the skyrocketing cost of education, Taylor imagines a new system—one as improvisational, as responsive to new technologies and as innovative as are the young members of the iPod and Facebook generation.

In Crisis on Campus, we have an iconoclastic, necessary catalyst for a national debate long overdue.
Product Details
eBook (256 pages)
Published: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307594600
Other books byMark C. Taylor
  • After God

    After God
    Religion, Mark C. Taylor argues inAfter God, is more complicated than either its defenders or critics think and, indeed, is much more influential than any of us realize. Our world, Taylor maintains, is shaped by religion even when it is least obvious. Faith and value, he insists, are unavoidable and inextricably interrelated for believers and nonbelievers alike. The first comprehensive theology of culture since the pioneering work of Paul Tillich,After Godredefines religion for our contemporary age. This volumeis a radical reconceptualization of religion and Taylor’s most pathbreaking work yet, bringing together various strands of theological argument and cultural analysis four decades in the making.   Praise for Mark C. Taylor “The distinguishing feature of Taylor’s career is a fearless, or perhaps reckless, orientation to the new and to whatever challenges orthodoxy. . . . Taylor’s work is playful, perverse, rarefied, ingenious, and often brilliant.”—New York Times Magazine    

    Journeys to Selfhood

    Journeys to Selfhood
    Hegel and Kierkegaard
    Taylor (humanities and religion, Williams College, Massachusetts) reconsiders the two philosophers based on the notion that all modern philosophy lies between the poles of their thought. He has added a new introduction to the 1980 original edition.

    Nots

    Nots
    Notsis a virtuoso exploration of negation and negativity in theology, philosophy, art, architecture, postmodern culture, and medicine. In nine essays that range from nihility in Buddhism to the embodiment of negativity in disease, Mark C. Taylor looks at the surprising ways in which contrasting concepts of negativity intersect. In the first section of this book, Taylor discusses the question of the "not" in the religious thought of Anselm, Hegel, Derrida, and Nishitani. In the second part, he analyzes artistic efforts "to figure not" in the work of artists Arakawa and Madeline Gins, architect Daniel Libeskind, pop artist David Sallee, and pop icon Madonna. The final section consists of a deeply personal and scientifically informed chapter that discusses the workings of negativity in immunology and illness. Taylor's essays work toward a sense of the not as unnameable as it is irrepressible—an "unthinkable third" that falls between being and nonbeing. Bringing together concerns that span Taylor's early investigations of Hegel and Kierkegaard and recent studies of art and architecture,Notsis an important contribution by one of the most original and distinctive voices now writing on the American scene. Religion and Postmodernism series

    Field Notes from Elsewhere

    Field Notes from Elsewhere
    Reflections on Dying and Living
    In the fall of 2005, Mark C. Taylor, the controversial public intellectual and widely respected scholar, suddenly fell critically ill. For two days a team of forty doctors, many of whom thought he would not live, fought to save him. Taylor would eventually recover, but only to face a new threat: surgery for cancer. "These experiences have changed me in ways I am still struggling to understand," Taylor writes in this absorbing memoir. "After the past year, I am persuaded that I have done enough fieldwork to write a book that combines philosophical and theological reflection with autobiographical narrative. Writing is not only possible but actually seems necessary." Field Notes from Elsewhere is Taylor's unforgettable, inverted journey from death to life. Each of his memoir's fifty-two chapters and accompanying photographs recounts a morning-to-evening experience with sickness and convalescence, mingling humor and hope with a deep exploration of human frailty and, conversely, resilience. When we confront the end of life, Taylor explains, the axis of the lived world shifts, and everything must be reevaluated. As Taylor sorts through his remembrances, much that once seemed familiar becomes strange, paradoxical, and contradictory. He reads his experience with and against ghosts from his past, recasting the meaning of mortality, sacrifice, solitude, and abandonment, along with a host of other issues, in light of modern ways of dying. "You never come back from elsewhere," Taylor concludes, "because elsewhere always comes back with you."

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