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  • By Richard Terrell
    Jun 1, 2017
    Robert Klein Engler writes a melancholy reflection on trends and conditions in American higher education, with larger perspectives emanating from his own specific and personal experiences in Chicago’s City College system at Richard Daley College. Engler reflects on the metamorphosis of the college from a community of scholars and teachers to a political bureaucracy. Engler put in 30 years at Daley College as a Social Science professor and faculty union leader. He was dismissed from the faculty in 1997, and his book does not seek to hide his bitterness over the loss of professional regard for the vocation and art of teaching at the college as well as his own sense of betrayal by administrators and the faculty union. Whereas Engler’s personal issues are a recurrent theme, the larger interest, for me, was to assess how trends at Daley College reflect broader currents in education nationally. He boldly challenges widely accepted concepts such as Affirmative Action as a superstition and... More > harbinger of chaos. Quoting Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson, Engler puts up a bold challenge to the acquiescence of higher education to accepted notions of the “diversity” mantra. “The ethnic revival is a dangerous form of obfuscation. . . . Ethnicity emphasizes the trivialities that distinguish us and obscures the overwhelming reality of our common genetic and human heritage as well as our common needs and hopes.” Indeed, Engler likens the changes and dismissals at Daley College, following a politically-motivated change to a Latino administration, a local form of “ethnic cleansing.” Engler perceives that administrators are the elite, while teaching is degraded to a part-time operation or even dismissed in favor of “learning” by some strange dogma of professional “educationalists.” The author poses a very interesting question in this regard: “If part-time instructors are so good, why can’t we have part-time administrators?” Engler's experiences as a gay, white faculty member at Daley informs much of his narrative. The book's organization follows a pattern of loosely related scenarios that do not follow any strict timeline. This may prove problematic for some readers. Occasionally Engler injects meditative observations on the larger world's appearances and common events that may go un-noticed (light glowing from a lighthouse on Lake Michigan, or a subway janitor mopping up in a tunnel). These are quietly powerful reflections, pleasing and poetic.< Less
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Product Details

ISBN
9780557389810
Published
May 17, 2012
Language
English
Pages
230
Binding
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
Weight
0.88 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
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