Educating Higher: Toward an Equitable, Innovative Future for Higher Education





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Published on Feb 9, 2016

Cathy N. Davidson
Distinguished Professor
The Graduate Center, The City University of New York

In this pragmatic and visionary address, Cathy N. Davidson shows why there can be no true innovation in higher education without addressing the full range of issues around equity. In the late 19th century, in a time of tremendous opportunity and crisis, educators transformed Puritan higher education into the modern college and university. Now, in another time of opportunity and crisis, we need to think strategically about the best ways to restructure higher education for the conditions of the world we live in now. Too many of the ad hoc solutions being proposed by pundits, politicians, and technology gurus make the crisis worse, not better.

Professor Davidson demonstrates how we can take immediate action to transform classrooms into egalitarian spaces designed to support student success. She encourages policymakers and educators to re-evaluate inherited Taylorist assumptions about the purpose of higher education in order to change institutional structures and public policies for a new model of higher education, transforming credentialing, labor practices, rankings, assessment, costs, accreditation, technology, graduate training, social justice, public support, and much more.

Cathy N. Davidson—a distinguished scholar of the history of technology—is Distinguished Professor in the PhD Program in English at the Graduate Center, The City University of New York, and Director of the Futures Initiative, a new program dedicated to envisioning the future of higher education. Prior to CUNY, Davidson was Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University. She served as Duke University’s (and the nation’s) first Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies, and is cofounder of HASTAC—the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory.


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