History and Philosophy of Higher Education
Annotated Article on Urban Higher Education
#6: 224 words
Rhoads, R. (2003) How Civic Engagement Is Reframing Liberal Education. peerReview. 15-18.
The author, associate professor of education, University of California, Los Angeles, sees a need to reframe liberal education. Suggestions for the reframing were based on three underlying reasons: undergraduate education becoming compromised as a consequence of placing research over teaching; expanding enrollments, and students commitment to career interests. Students appear to be disinterested in the social good. Utilizing themes from Dewey (1916), the author proposes service learning linking liberal education with civic engagement. Dewey’s question, “How ought we to live” is aimed at how to engage the student in learning experiences to develop concerned, caring citizens. Students need to examine the relationship between a caring sense of self and a concern for others. This identity development is developed by the interaction with others, which helps to develop the social self. When students can see other’s reality as a possibility for them, when they can fill the pain, to walk a mile in other’s shoes, then they learn to care. Liberal education has an important role to play in helping students develop complex selves capable of negotiating diverse cultures. Civic engagement contributes to this development of a complex self in myriad ways. When students begin to see sophisticated ways in which identities intersect and diverge, they become more comfortable with that which is different and can become more sophisticated in locating that which is similar.