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Should higher education reject elitism and return to solving real community problems?

In February, Harry Boyte and Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow were interviewed for a Civic Caucus Focus on Human Capital. Here’s an excerpt from the summary:

According to Harry Boyte, senior scholar at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, we must think of colleges and universities as more than a private good, more than a ticket to a job, but as a public resource. He believes that is the legacy of the land-grant tradition, in which there was a great sense of interactivity, partnership and collaborative work and university scholars were seen as grounded in the public problems of society. But he says that vision goes against the conventional wisdom of higher education today, where elitism has become common, along with detachment from community engagement.

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow says colleges can play a critical role both in equipping students to go out into the world with a sense of agency, no matter what their profession is, and in finding ways to be part of the community.



Civic Agency and Executive Function: An Emerging Conversation

Here’s an excerpt from Harry Boyte’s column in Huffington Post from February 20, 2015:

A conversation is just beginning between practitioners and theorists of civic agency and scholars and educators promoting educational experiences which develop Executive function. It may have large potential.

Civic Agency

Today, most people feel powerless to do much of anything other than complain or protest about public problems from the local traffic sign to racial profiling, from school bullying to global warming. Young people in low income and minority communities especially feel powerless.

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Walker’s “Drafting Error” and the Democratic Promise of Executive Function

Here’s an excerpt from Harry Boyte’s column in Huffington Post from February 9, 2015: Today education is “delivered” to students seen as passive customers. This view has replaced the idea that students are agents and co-creators of their learning, as well as the idea that the purpose of education is not only to prepare students for individual success but most importantly to be contributors to a democratic society. The delivery paradigm produces no ownership. As economist Lawrence Summers, no champion of participatory democracy, nonetheless once usefully quipped, “Nobody washes their rented car.”

Check here to read the whole article