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AAC&U Presents 2016 Frederic W. Ness Book Award to Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters by Michael S. Roth

Jan 21, 2016

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the winner of its Frederic W. Ness Book Award: Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters published in 2014 by Yale University Press. The Ness award is given for the book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education, and will be formally presented to the author, Michael S. Roth, at AAC&U’s Annual Meeting, on January 21, 2016, in Washington, DC. Michael S. Roth is president of Wesleyan University.

In Beyond the University, Michael S. Roth recounts the historic debates over the benefits—or drawbacks—of a liberal education. In this provocative contribution to the disputes, Roth focuses on important moments and seminal thinkers in America’s long-running argument over vocational vs. liberal education.

“As I argue in the book, a liberal education is more important than ever,” said Michael S. Roth, author of Beyond the University. “In 2016, we can work toward the wider recognition that liberal learning in the American tradition isn’t only training; it’s an invitation to think for oneself—and to act in concert with others to face serious challenges and create far-reaching opportunities. I’m honored to have the book recognized by AAC&U.”

This year’s Ness award winner was selected by a committee of higher education leaders including Johnnella Butler (chair), Professor, Comparative Women's Studies, Spelman College; Sanford Ungar, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Georgetown University; Elaine Maimon, President, Governors State University; and Reza Fakhari, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, City University of New York Kingsborough Community College.

“Michael Roth provides the historical and contemporary rationale for the pragmatic, aspirational, and innovative liberal education to meet the changing twenty-first-century realities both within and beyond the university,” said Johnnella Butler.

The Ness Book Award was established by AAC&U in 1979 to honor AAC&U's president emeritus, Frederic W. Ness. Recent award winners include Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning by José Antonio Bowen; Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession by Dr. Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, Dr. William Sullivan, and Dr. Jonathan R. Dolle; Why Choose the Liberal Arts? by Mark W. Roche; Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education by Peter Sacks; Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More by Derek Bok; Saving Higher Education in the Age of Money by James Engell and Anthony Dangerfield; Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi; Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past by Sam Wineburg; and Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education by Martha Nussbaum.

Visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/president/book.html to learn more about this book.


About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,350 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.