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Cover for Sustainable. Resilient. Free.

Sustainable. Resilient. Free.

The Future of Public Higher Education

John Warner


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The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the unsustainability of our public higher education system; in Sustainable. Resilient. Free., author and educator John Warner maps out a path for change.

In 1983, U.S. News and World Report started to rank colleges and universities, throwing them into competition with each other for students and precious resources. Over the course of the next thirty or so years a Reagan-era ethos of privatization and competition turned students into consumers and colleges into businesses. Tuition is unaffordable. Student loan debt is more than $1.6 trillion, and a majority of college faculty work in adjunct positions for low pay and with no security. Colleges exist to enroll students, collect tuition, and hold classes. When learning happens, it is in spite of the system, not because of it. In Sustainable. Resilient. Free., John Warner envisions a future in which our public colleges and universities are reoriented around enhancing the intellectual, social, and economic potentials of students while providing broad-based benefits to the community at large. As Warner explains, it's not even complicated. It's no more costly than the current system. We just have to choose to live the values we claim to hold dear.

A critical read for anyone invested in the future of public higher education.

Belt Publishing, 9781948742955, 160pp.

Publication Date: October 27, 2020

About the Author

John Warner is a writer, editor, speaker, teacher, and consultant. Since 2001, he's held a series of teaching positions at four different institutions, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Virginia Tech, Clemson University and College of Charleston, where he currently holds the title of faculty affiliate. Warner writes the Just Visiting blog at Inside Higher Ed, where he has become a national voice on issues of faculty labor and writing pedagogy. He also writes a weekly column for the Chicago Tribune on books and reading as his alter ego, The Biblioracle. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina.