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Beyond Reason and ToleranceThe Purpose and Practice of Higher Education$
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Robert J. Thompson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199969784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969784.001.0001

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American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century

American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century

(p.1) Chapter 1 American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century
Beyond Reason and Tolerance

Robert J. Thompson

Oxford University Press

In response to the callfor a reconsideration of the purposes of higher education, this chapter argues that responsiveness to societal needs is one source of guidance for formulating an institution’s purposes. It is also argued that the major societal needs of the 21st century are for individuals who have the intellectual and personal capabilities to constructively engage political, ethnic, and religious differences. Meeting these societal needs requires a transformation in both the purposes and practices of higher education. The current need for transformation is situated in the context of previous transformations in higher education, including secularization, post-secularization, the move to general education, and recent efforts to reform undergraduate education, particularly at research universities

Keywords:   societal need, transformations, higher education, secularization, post-secularization, general education, 21st century

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