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"To Serve a Larger Purpose": Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education, edited by John Saltmarsh and Matthew Hartley (Temple University Press 2011, $69.50 hardcover)
Grounded in a keen understanding of higher education's historical role in the civic sphere, this volume points to disjunctions that have fractured the civic engagement movement and suggests myriad opportunities to revitalize higher education's role in democracy. Calling for stakeholders to come together around common goals and definitions, the editors emphasize the need to sharpen the movement's focus on democratic engagement as a central and defining goal of postsecondary institutions. Contributing authors (including AAC&U's Caryn McTighe Musil) raise important issues and illustrate how various parties—presidents, provosts, faculty, and students among them—can support and advance this work.
Educating for Deliberative Democracy, edited by Nancy L. Thomas (Jossey-Bass 2010, $29.00 paperback)
This brief but powerful volume explores higher education's potential to enact the ideal of deliberative democracy—a version of democratic practice marked by collaboration, flexibility, and accountability. With attention focused on places ranging from classroom to community and topics from academic freedom to governance, contributing authors ask difficult questions about how higher education could more successfully enact this specific version of democratic practice. The volume is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the concrete steps higher education might take to build deliberatively democratic cultures, and in the moral and ethical imperative for it to do so.
Democracy and Higher Education: Traditions and Stories of Civic Engagement by Scott J. Peters with Theodore R. Alter and Neil Schwartzbach (Michigan State University Press 2010, $44.95 paperback)
This innovative volume aims to move beyond abstract theories about higher education's role in democracy and illustrate how faculty engage in democratic practice on the ground. Through practitioner profiles constructed by interviewing faculty in Cornell University's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the authors uncover rich stories about how individuals' research and teaching coalesces around community-based aims. In presenting popular theories about higher education's democratic role in conjunction with these real-life narratives, the authors offer a substantive and engaging contribution to the literature on this topic.
The Moral University, Maurice R. Berube and Clair T. Berube (Rowman and Littlefield 2010, $19.95 paperback)
In this short treatise, Maurice and Clair Berube explore the many intertwining strands of moral engagement within the modern American university. By examining the multiple roles higher education has historically played in building a democratic society, the authors illustrate how the American university can be a moral force acting on behalf of students, faculty, and society at large. Presenting morality as an expansive and much-contested term with clear connections to social justice, the authors imply that higher education plays an ongoing role in bringing such justice to society. This book points to an array of areas where faculty, administrators, and students can reinforce higher education's longstanding commitments to both teaching and enacting moral reasoning.