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Generation on a Tightrope : A Portrait of Today's College Student



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An understanding of today's college students is vital to the effectiveness of our nation's colleges and universities. The third in a series on college student expectations, aspirations, academics, attitudes, values, beliefs, social life and politics, this book presents an accurate portrait of today's undergraduate college students. Covering the main topic areas of the two previous works, it also contains new chapters and makes comparisons across generations. Timely and comprehensive, this volume gives researchers, practitioners, and policymakers a much-needed grasp of the forces shaping the experiences of current undergraduates.

Author Biography

Arthur Levine is president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Previously, he was president and professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Diane R. Dean is associate professor of higher education policy and administration at Illinois State University.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xix

The Authors xxiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: The Past Is a Foreign Country 11

Chapter 2: Academics: The Internet and the Blackboard 37

Chapter 3: Life Outside the Classroom: The New Tribalism 53

Chapter 4: Parents: Helicopters, Lawnmowers, and Stealth Bombers 79

Chapter 5: Multiculturalism: The Demographics of Comfort 95

Chapter 6: Politics: Talking Global, Acting Local 117

Chapter 7: The Future: Clinging to the American Dream 147

Chapter 8: Conclusion: The Future Is a Foreign Country 155

Appendix A: The Life and Times of the Class of 2012: A Chronology 199

Appendix B: Studies Used in This Book 205

Appendix C: Campus Contacts 209

References 213

Index 219

We dedicate this book to our spouses, Linda Fentiman and John Giglio, both educators, and to our children, Jamie Levine, who is teaching today’s college students; Rachel Levine, who graduated from college in 2010 and is one of the people we are writing about; and Andy and Katy Giglio, who are the college students of the future. We love you very much.

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