AAC&U Responds to Stanley Fish Op-Ed Denouncing the Academy's Embrace of Civic Engagement as a Goal

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The following letter was sent to the New York Times on May 26, 2004:

To the Editor:

With 75% of recent high school graduates now enrolling in college, the nation has a unique opportunity to engage an entire generation with the difficult questions that challenge both our democracy and the global community. Hundreds of college and university leaders have recognized both the opportunity and their responsibility to respond. Their campuses are replacing the ivory tower ethic with a new vision of purposeful engagement with the wider world. College faculty cannot presume to "know" the right answers to the world's hard questions. But it is their business to explore those questions, in all their complexity, with their students. In doing so, they steadily renew the vitality and integrity of our democracy.

Carol Schneider
President, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Elizabeth Hollander,
Executive Director, Campus Compact

Across these two associations, the presidents of 850 colleges and universities from every part of the academy have signed declarations that cultivating democratic knowledge and engagement is a fundamental educational priority. 

Carol Geary Schneider