Universities are inextricably tied to their country’s priorities and stages of development, and yet they also play a role in shaping those priorities and in energizing that development. At no time in our nation’s history has the role of universities, especially public universities, been so central to America’s character and world standing. Our economic vitality and global reputation depend on an educated workforce, composed of college graduates in STEM, in the humanities, social sciences, and other critical fields. Our role and responsibility is not only to educate the workforce of tomorrow but also to promote human development and to shape citizens capable of improving the human condition locally, nationally, and globally.
Yet, owing to budgetary constraints and increasing public skepticism about the value of education, the American public university is in peril. Its role as a preeminent force for cultural and social leadership and economic prosperity is under siege at both the state and the national level. In this book, J. Keith Motley explores the many challenges facing higher education and outlines his vision for the development of a distinctive and vital entity, namely the student-centered urban public research university, an institution perfectly poised to unlock the potential of higher education in a global age.