Amidst a rapid decline in confidence in American colleges and universities, leaders in the academy must engage in a collective call to action to restore public trust in the promise of liberal education and inclusive excellence. For those of us who believe that higher education is inextricably linked to our nation’s historic mission of educating for democracy, the work seems more urgent than ever. This urgency is enhanced by the reality we are living in an ostensibly post-truth era, characterized by the denial of authoritative knowledge and the disdain of experts, and in which rational inquiry built on evidence has all but been abandoned. If we are to contest accusation of irrelevancy and illegitimacy leveled against higher education, we must reassert the role that liberal education plays in discerning the truth and preparing students for work, citizenship, and life, using the most vibrant vectors available to us.
Lynn Pasquerella | President, Association of American Colleges and Universities
Jennifer Senior | Opinion Columnist, The New York Times