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What Universities Owe Democracy

Ronald J. Daniels
with Grant Shreve and Phillip Spector

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Universities have historically been integral to democracy. What can they do to reclaim this critical role?

Universities play an indispensable role within modern democracies. But this role is often overlooked or too narrowly conceived, even by universities themselves. In What Universities Owe Democracy, Ronald J. Daniels, the president of Johns Hopkins University, argues that—at a moment when liberal democracy is endangered and more countries are heading toward autocracy than at any time in generations—it is critical for today's colleges and universities to reestablish their place in democracy.…

Universities have historically been integral to democracy. What can they do to reclaim this critical role?

Universities play an indispensable role within modern democracies. But this role is often overlooked or too narrowly conceived, even by universities themselves. In What Universities Owe Democracy, Ronald J. Daniels, the president of Johns Hopkins University, argues that—at a moment when liberal democracy is endangered and more countries are heading toward autocracy than at any time in generations—it is critical for today's colleges and universities to reestablish their place in democracy.

Drawing upon fields as varied as political science, economics, history, and sociology, Daniels identifies four distinct functions of American higher education that are key to liberal democracy: social mobility, citizenship education, the stewardship of facts, and the cultivation of pluralistic, diverse communities. By examining these roles over time, Daniels explains where colleges and universities have faltered in their execution of these functions—and what they can do going forward.

Looking back on his decades of experience leading universities, Daniels offers bold prescriptions for how universities can act now to strengthen democracy. For those committed to democracy's future prospects, this book is a vital resource.

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What Universities Owe Democracy

Ronald J. Daniels
with Grant Shreve and Phillip Spector

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Reviews

Reviews

This is an exceptionally important, insistently reasonable, delightfully readable book.

Anyone concerned with higher education's role in the public good, especially researchers and practitioners, will find [What Universities Owe Democracy] well worth the read.

When the president of a major university publishes a deeply researched, closely reasoned, strongly argued powerful idea and call to the profession to respond to an urgent crisis in our national history, it is highly likely to become a classic in the literature of higher education. Ronald Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University (co-authoring with colleagues Grant Shreve and Phillip Spector), has accomplished that with this new book.

[A] forceful argument for universities as change-makers. Daniels wants the American university and its graduates to find more ways to challenge power.

Daniels makes an important contribution to not one but two urgent and topical subjects: the weakening of American self-governance and the overall role of higher education in countering that dangerous trend. One hopes that Daniels's sterling academic reputation, and that of his institution, leads to a wide readership.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
336
ISBN
9781421442693
Illustration Description
2 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
1. American Dreams: Access, Mobility, Fairness
2. Free Minds: Educating Democratic Citizens
3. Hard Facts: Knowledge Creation and Checking Power
4. Purposeful Pluralism: Dialogue

Preface
Introduction
1. American Dreams: Access, Mobility, Fairness
2. Free Minds: Educating Democratic Citizens
3. Hard Facts: Knowledge Creation and Checking Power
4. Purposeful Pluralism: Dialogue across Difference on Campus
Conclusion
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Author Bios
Ronald J. Daniels
Featured Contributor

Ronald J. Daniels

Since 2009, Ronald J. Daniels has served as the 14th president of Johns Hopkins University. There, he has strengthened interdisciplinary research, enhanced student access, and deepened the university's engagement with the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The coauthor of Rethinking the Welfare State: The Prospects for Government by Voucher and Rule of Law Reform and Development: Charting the Fragile...
Featured Contributor

Grant Shreve

Grant Shreve is a senior writer in Johns Hopkins University's Office of the President.
Featured Contributor

Phillip Spector

Phillip Spector cofounded the Peter Gruber Rule of Law Clinic at Yale Law School and previously served as the vice president for strategic initiatives at Johns Hopkins University.