Cover image for Championing a Public Good: A Call to Advocate for Higher Education By Carolyn D. Commer

Championing a Public Good

A Call to Advocate for Higher Education

Carolyn D. Commer

Coming in May

$112.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09733-6
Coming in May

$24.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-09734-3
Coming in May

172 pages
6" × 9"
2024

Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation

Championing a Public Good

A Call to Advocate for Higher Education

Carolyn D. Commer

“With higher education in crisis once again, Championing a Public Good comes along not a moment too soon. Carolyn Commer presents a compelling vision for higher education advocacy that stresses the role of deliberative leadership in emphasizing the value of higher education as a public good. For anyone who hopes to make a difference in the fight for the future of higher learning, Commer’s book is essential reading.”

 

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From decreased funding to censorship controversies and rising student debt, the public perception of the value of higher education has become decidedly more negative. This crisis requires advocacy and action by policymakers, educators, and the public. Championing the Public Good presents a clear set of strategies and tools for advocates making the case for renewing our civic commitment to public higher education.

Taking a fresh look at one of the most controversial moments in the history of US higher education, the work of the Spellings Commission (2005–2008), Carolyn D. Commer argues that this body’s public criticisms of higher education and its recommendation to increase accountability and oversight—via market-based metrics—accelerated the erosion of the concept of higher education as a public good. Countering that requires a careful, forceful approach on the part of advocates. Commer draws from the public record to demonstrate a common set of arguments, metaphors, and rhetorical frames that can, in fact, flip the public debate over higher education to champion the public value of universities and colleges over their value as market commodities.

Championing a Public Good is a powerful primer on how to change the course of public higher education in the United States. It will appeal especially to faculty, administrators, and policymakers in higher education.

“With higher education in crisis once again, Championing a Public Good comes along not a moment too soon. Carolyn Commer presents a compelling vision for higher education advocacy that stresses the role of deliberative leadership in emphasizing the value of higher education as a public good. For anyone who hopes to make a difference in the fight for the future of higher learning, Commer’s book is essential reading.”
“Commer advances a vision for how presidents of colleges and universities across a wide range of educational missions and institutional types can use deliberative rhetorics as part of their leadership toolbox and assume responsibility for convening public deliberation about the aims and values of higher education.”

Carolyn D. Commer is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Rhetoric and Writing PhD program at Virginia Tech. She earned her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, where she served as President of the Graduate Student Assembly and the Northeast Legislative Director for the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students.

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