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Designing the New American University


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Over the past twelve years, Michael Crow has transformed ASU into one of America's proudest research universities. Now, he and his colleague, William Dabars, share this model of success and the efforts of the university to bring it to scale-presenting untapped opportunities to boost our economic and global competitiveness and to further invest in our next generation of leaders. -- Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States Michael Crow is one of the leading college presidents in America precisely because he understands how we must innovate at the collegiate level if we want to continue to lead in today's global knowledge economy, while at the same time expanding access and affordability to ensure more students have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. This book is an important and insightful read. -- Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Florida Instead of dwelling on the past glories of American higher education alone, this book centers on reinvention and the dynamic nature of American universities. At a time when higher education is in flux-some would say in crisis-the clarity of Crow's vision and proposed solutions make Designing the New American University essential reading. -- Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York A brilliant, innovative, lucid, and path-breaking book-arguably the most significant book on higher learning since Clark Kerr's The Uses of the University, published more than a half-century ago. -- Jonathan R. Cole, Columbia University, author of The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected This book deserves close reading since it sets the context and need for the design of a new type of research university and then presents the project of ASU as a case study that has already achieved goals that far surpass expectations. While not strictly a model it does show us the way to a significantly more optimistic and inclusive future for higher education. -- John Seely Brown, coauthor of A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change America has been blessed with the world's best universities, but it won't stay that way without wise change. Michael Crow has been inventing the new university for years; friends of higher education should go to school on his innovations, with this as their textbook. -- Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., President of Purdue University and former Governor of Indiana This book is a route map, rationale, and guide for the few and the bold who dare to step forward to build the universities we need for the twenty-first century. -- Daniel Greenstein, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Both this book and the model it demonstrates should be of great interest to all those concerned with the future of American higher education. -- James J. Duderstadt, University of Michigan, author of A University for the 21st Century Michael Crow and William Dabars combine analytic social science, policy studies, and a humanistic understanding of how institutions have changed over time, to illuminate how the nation has shaped its institutions of higher learning and how they in turn have shaped, and must continue to shape, the nation. -- Daniel Mark Fogel, University of Vermont, co-editor of Precipice or Crossroads? Where America's Great Public Universities Stand and Where They Are Going Midway through Their Second Century At a time when knowledge is the key resource for a robust and prosperous society, Crow and Dabars argue persuasively that we must design a New American University rededicated to the public good and recast to meet present and future challenges. They offer a compelling vision of universities with students of diverse backgrounds and faculty energized to serve society and their communities. This book will inspire us to re-think the way we support discovery, creativity, and education - from artistic engagement and humanistic insight to scientific understanding and technological innovation. -- Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President, University of Maryland, and author of Holding Fast to Dreams: Empowering Youth from the Civil Rights Crusade to STEM Achievement

Table of Contents

Preface, by Michael M. CrowAcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. American Research Universities at a Fork in the Road2. The Gold Standard in American Higher Education3. The Varieties of Academic Tradition4. Discovery, Creativity, and Innovation5. Designing Knowledge Enterprises6. A Pragmatic Approach to Innovation and Sustainability7. Designing a New American University at the FrontierConclusionBibliographyIndex

About the Author

Michael M. Crow has served as the president of Arizona State University since 2002. He was formerly executive vice provost at Columbia University and a professor of science and technology policy. William B. Dabars is senior director of research for the New American University in the Office of the President and an associate research professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University.


Crow and Dabars offer a close analysis of the history and values that spawned our world-renowned research facilities and present a fresh model characterized by a pragmatic research structure and transdisciplinary organization... The authors present a dense and extensively investigated explanation of the strengths and limitations of our contemporary higher education environment and the possibilities of a new model. Library Journal We must remember that the connection of excellence and access is not just a slogan but a necessity for all of us in higher education. That was the special genius of California's master plan: attempting to forge and maintain connections at every level between teaching and research. The plan requires updating, with more emphasis on serving diverse populations of students, and continued expansion and innovations. Crow and Dabars may not have reinvented the master plan, but they have made an important intervention in the debate about which models work best, for which purposes and constituencies, and how we can support those models at the scale they require, all while maintaining academic rigor and autonomy. -- Nicholas B. Dirks The Chronicle Review An engaging and readable justification for and account of the New American University project... Crow is unlikely to disappear from view for quite some time. -- Ferdinand Von Prondzynski Times High Education Crow and Dabars are right to want new public universities to replace the Harvard standard. Their book is worth reading just for that discussion. -- Christopher Newfield Los Angeles Review of Books Crow... continues to be at the cutting edge of these and other challenges, opportunities, and initiatives for public research universities in general and his own institution in particular... Well written and laden with notes and bibliography, this is a solid complement to William G. Bowen and Eugene M. Tobin's Locus of Authority (2015) and Robert Lacroix and Louis Maheu's Leading Research Universities in a Competitive World (2015). Choice

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