Separated at Birth

At the Opening Night Forum of the AAC&U’s Annual Meeting for 2012, I tried to argue that higher ed doesn’t need to decide between educating for work or citizenship, because those proficiencies overlap in signficant ways.  This is the way the program described the session:

The educational outcomes of employability are looking more and more like those of civic engagement.  Employers tell us they want graduates who can think independently and express themselves originally, but who can also work with colleagues from across disciplinary cultures and around the world. 


For many, the new emphasis on collaboration departs from an approach to intellectual development as solitary  Constantly connected, we’re increasingly expected to solve problems, build businesses, and even invent and learn as members of teams.


What can each domain learn from the other?  Are we ready to prepare our students for lives that—whether we like or not—will be led more collectively than ours?


And what does American higher education have to contribute, with its tradition of shared governance? 


Our responses will shape our colleges and universities for decades to come, as we reconcile the sibling proficiencies of work and community. 


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