An understanding of today s undergraduate college students is vital to the effectiveness of our nation s colleges and universities. As Generation on a Tightrope clearly reveals, today s students need a very different education than the undergraduates who came before them: an education for the 21st Century, which colleges and universities are so far ill-equipped to offer and which will require major changes of them to provide. Examining college student expectations, aspirations, academics, attitudes, values, beliefs, social life, and politics, this book paints an accurate portrait of today s students. Timely and comprehensive, this volume offers educators, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and employers guidance and a much-needed grasp of the forces shaping the experiences of current undergraduates. The book: * Is based on completely new research of 5,000 college students and student affairs practitioners from 270 diverse college campuses * Explores the similarities and differences between today s generation of students and previous generations
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.
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.