Reinventing Higher Education

Reinventing Higher Education The Promise of Innovation

Edited by Ben Wildavsky, Andrew P. Kelly, and Kevin Carey
paper, 296 Pages
Pub. Date: April 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-934742-87-7
Price: $34.00

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Pub. Date: April 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-427-8

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The inspiration for this timely book is the pressing need for fresh ideas and innovations in U.S. higher education. At the heart of the volume is the realization that higher education must evolve in fundamental ways if it is to respond to changing professional, economic, and technological circumstances, and if it is to successfully reach and prepare a vast population of students—traditional and nontraditional alike—for success in the coming decades.


This collection of well-researched essays offers a comprehensive view of an educational landscape that is changing under our feet. People who think they understand American higher education are likely to find many surprises in this insightful book. — Richard H. Brodhead, president, Duke University

U.S. higher education is both enormously successful and essential to our future, yet it is endlessly frustrating for its lack of innovation and ruthlessly rising costs. This important volume tackles the conundrums that surround this most conservative of enterprises and points the way toward improvements in the educational performance of our colleges and universities. Essential reading for both those within and outside the academy. — David W. Breneman, University Professor and Newton and Rita Meyers Professor in Economics of Education, University of Virginia

In the twentieth century, America built the world’s best system of higher education, one that combined openness with excellence. But can it maintain its lead in the twenty-first century? Reinventing Higher Education offers not only a clear-eyed assessment of the state of American higher education—it also provides a compelling, indeed inspiring, blueprint for how the system can remain the best in the world. This book is essential reading for America’s captains of higher learning—and indeed for anybody who cares about the future of the country. — Adrian Wooldridge, management editor and Schumpeter columnist, The Economist

Reinventing Higher Education is a helpful resource for exploring the issues of the current higher education system, while providing solutions for these concerns. It successfully serves as a call to administrators, faculty and government to implement resolutions to successfully support the diverse profile of college students. — Emily Odio, The National Association for College Admission Counseling Bulletin

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About the Editors

Kevin Carey is the policy director at Education Sector. In addition to managing Education Sector’s policy team, he regularly contributes to the Quick and the Ed blog and has published Education Sector reports on topics including a blueprint for a new system of college rankings, how states inflate educational progress under No Child Left Behind, and improving minority college graduation rates. He has published magazine articles and op-eds in publications including Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, Phi Delta Kappan, Change, Education Week, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, and Christian Science Monitor. He also writes a monthly column on higher education policy for Chronicle of Higher Education. In 1995, Carey worked as an education finance analyst for the state of Indiana, where he developed a new formula for setting local property taxes and distributing state education aid. He subsequently served as a senior analyst for the Indiana Senate Finance Committee, writing legislation and advising the Democratic caucus on fiscal policy. From 1999 to 2001, he served as Indiana’s assistant state budget director for education, where he advised the governor on finance and policy issues in K–12 and higher education. In 2001, Carey became an analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research organization focused on policies that serve low- and moderate-income families. There he published new research on state poverty-based education funding programs. Carey subsequently worked at the Education Trust, where he was director of policy research.

Andrew P. Kelly is a research fellow in education policy studies at AEI and a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of California–Berkeley. His research focuses on education policy, congressional policy making, and public opinion. As a graduate student, Kelly was a National Science Foundation interdisciplinary training fellow and graduate student instructor. Previously, he was a research assistant at AEI, where his work focused on the preparation of school leaders, collective bargaining in public schools, and the politics of education. His research has appeared in Teachers College Record, Educational Policy, Policy Studies Journal, Education Next, Education Week, Forbes, and various edited volumes. He is a coauthor of the AEI reports “Diplomas and Dropouts: Which Schools Actually Graduate Their Students (and Which Don’t)” and “Rising to the Challenge: Hispanic College Graduation Rates as a National Priority.”

Ben Wildavsky is a senior fellow in research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation and author of The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World (Princeton University Press, 2010). He joined the Kauffman Foundation following an eighteen-year career as a writer and editor specializing in education and public policy. Most recently, he was education editor of U.S. News & World Report. Previously, Wildavsky was budget, tax, and trade correspondent for National Journal, higher education reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, and executive editor of the Public Interest. A guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, he has also written for the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Monthly, the New Republic, and other publications, and blogs for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s new global edition. As a consultant to national education reformers, he has written and edited several influential reports, including the 2006 report of the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. In addition to numerous media appearances, he has spoken at Google, Harvard, the London School of Economics, the Association of American Universities, the National Academies, and many other organizations.

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