The New Education

How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World In Flux


By Cathy N. Davidson

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“One of the most thoughtful voices from within academia” (Washington Post) argues the American university is stuck in the past—and shows how we can revolutionize it

We’re living in a period of great upheaval—yet there hasn't been a corresponding change in our system of higher education. In The New Education, Cathy N. Davidson argues we need a new theory and practice of learning that emphasizes achievement not as a score on a test but as the ability to navigate a job market—and a world—in constant flux. Davidson offers lessons for remaking higher education for our own time, for every institution from the Ivy League to the poorest community college.

Now with a new introduction that addresses the benefits and challenges of remote learning and an appendix that offers practical advice on how institutions can change, The New Education is essential reading for educators, parents, and students. Davidson deftly shows how we can teach students not only to survive but to thrive in the twenty-first-century economy.



IN EVERY MYTH, THERE'S A DOORWAY, A PORTAL, A RIVER, A LADDER, a mountain, a pathway. There is a threshold and, if you are the hero, your journey requires you to cross over: you start on one side, and the challenge is to reach the other. There are obstacles—gorges, rapids, bandits, hunger, temptations, cowardice, despair. There are also guides along the way, some wise, some not. How can you tell? It's tricky. As ancient maps portend: "Here be dragons."

In modern life, the threshold that looms largest, defining almost all that follows, is the age of majority. One day you are the legal responsibility of a parent or a guardian, the next you are on your own, responsible for making your own way, treading the cliff's edge.

When you are 17 years and 364 days old, your parents can tell you what to do. When you wake up the next morning, 18, they, legally, cannot.

You have crossed over. Before and after.

In individual and social terms, the consequences of that crossing are so vast that they are constantly debated. How old do you have to be to drink? To be tried and executed as an adult? To go to war? To vote? Sometimes it is eighteen, sometimes twenty-one, and there are arguments about which age is more just. Because it matters. And not only to you, the individual, but also to your society.

Your rite of passage represents all of the life-and-death issues that we grapple with together in democracies. We argue over when childhood ends, when adult responsibility begins, when the torch should be passed. Your journey is our journey, your future is ours. How you are prepared to join and perhaps lead a community, a generation, a world, matters to those who have gone before you and those who will come after. The consequences have weight and heft, the journey, peril and promise.

You are crossing from definition by others to self-definition, from dependence on others to legal independence. You are moving from control by others to self-control, from ideas shaped by others to your own ideas, from received opinions to your own ability to determine where you are going next, to discern, evaluate, make judgments, and then to act.

It is a pivotal moment. Existential. You are on your own. This is the stuff of mythology, from the Epic of Gilgamesh forward.

In America, we call it college.

I HAVE WITNESSED THIS TRANSFORMATION THOUSANDS OF TIMES over my long career as a college professor. It doesn't happen for every student in the same way or at the same age, but it is apparent enough that you can drop an academic into any random classroom and we can tell immediately whether we are meeting first-year students or those who have been in college a year or more.

Parents witness the transformation, too. The child who goes off in September is not the adult who returns over Thanksgiving break. "Who is this?" many a parent has asked about the stranger knocking about their child's old room. It's not just their age that changes but their way of being in the world.

College makes this happen—and not only for the young. Depending on how you count, between 40 percent and 70 percent of current students are so-called nontraditional students. Like the eighteen- to twenty-two-year-olds who go away to college and live in dorms, these adult, commuter students are on a journey, making sacrifices of time, money, and attention to strive for a significant change in their lives. The lackadaisical high school graduate who has no idea what to do next, the sixty-two-year-old insurance executive taking night classes to fulfill a lifelong goal of earning a college degree, the student returning from a gap year to enter the flagship state university, the twenty-something Somalian refugee working multiple minimum-wage jobs while taking English as a second language at a community college, and the eighteen-year-old private school graduate with perfect SAT scores on her way to Stanford with an eye on a future career in Silicon Valley—like the rest of the nation's college students—are all volunteers. They voluntarily choose to make college part of their journey toward an adulthood they can live as independently, responsibly, and with as much satisfaction as they are able to achieve.

This book is for all of them, the 21 million students in college today, and for all those students who are on their way to college, wondering whether it is worth it, trying to figure out how to gain the best education possible. It is also for recent graduates, the much-maligned Millennials who have been through college in the last fifteen years.

I believe they've been given a raw deal.

Why? Because the schooling they received was developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to train farmers and shopkeepers to be factory workers and office managers. At the height of the momentous changes to life, work, and society driven by industrialization and the accompanying urbanization, America's elite Puritan colleges went through a massive redesign, shifting away from their founding mission to train ministers toward the selection, preparation, and credentialing of future leaders of new professions, new institutions, and new companies. Such prescriptive, disciplinary, and specialized training worked well for most of the twentieth century. But it makes a lot less sense for our postindustrial and post-Internet world, in which the boundaries between work and home are far less distinct, work itself is more precarious, wages are largely stagnant, automation is expanding and becoming more sophisticated, democratic institutions are failing, professions are disappearing, and the next shock to the economy is on the horizon, even if we can't see it yet.

Our institutions of higher education are helping young people transform themselves, as they always have, helping them move from dependence to independence, from childhood to adulthood. College is good at that. Yet college is no longer good at equipping graduates to succeed in an ever more complex and bewildering world.

People who say "higher education hasn't changed since Socrates' Academy two thousand years ago" have it wrong. The modern American university is only about 150 years old. Basically, the infrastructure, curriculums, and assessment methods we have now were developed between 1860 and 1925. An ambitious cadre of educators led by Charles Eliot, the energetic and forward-thinking young president of Harvard in the late 1800s, redesigned the Puritan college for an unfolding age of industrialization and urbanization that required managers, not ministers.

Eliot and his peers from the nation's most distinguished institutions set about modernizing the university in every way. To support a newly differentiated labor market, they defined academic disciplines, fortifying and separating departments and divisions, majors and minors. They regulated the curriculum down to the credit hour and segregated general education and the liberal arts from the new, specialized, high-prestige research enterprises of graduate schools and professional schools designed to certify the expertise of an emerging professional-managerial class. They founded ranking and accreditation organizations that systematized and enshrined their values. Even without a unified system of higher education, every institution was ranked (explicitly and implicitly) against others. Smaller liberal arts colleges and the proliferating public universities were judged according to benchmarks established by the most elite, well-funded institutions in the country.

Educators of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also developed the educational measurements we use today. Grades, statistics, standard deviation, regression from the mean, bell curves, IQ tests, admissions exams, and timed and standardized multiple-choice tests were all new ways of assessing academic inputs and outputs, of distinguishing what kinds of intelligence, aptitude, and achievement counted and what kinds did not. The revolution in higher education was partly inspired by management theorists of the day who were gauging the productivity of factories smelting pig iron and assembly lines turning out Model Ts. In essence, all of these features of higher education add up to the university that exists today.

Yet it's been a full generation since April 22, 1993, when a new world was born. That's the day scientists at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications announced that the Mosaic 1.0 web browser was available to the public. There were fewer than twenty websites in existence at the time; by the end of the year, there were more than ten thousand, and Internet use that year alone increased by over 2,000 percent. Overnight, anyone with access to an Internet connection could communicate anything to anyone else in the world who had access to an Internet connection. This is an almost unimaginable extension of the human reach.

As was the age of industrialization, the Internet era has been marked by complex and far-reaching social, political, and economic changes wrought not by steam power and assembly-line mechanization but by digitization and algorithm-based global redistribution of ideas, capital, goods, labor, and services. Modern networked computing has changed everyday life and work, and these changes accelerate each year. Even our ideas about what it means to be human and social—a "self" and a "society"—fail to encompass the close ties of people who never physically meet, who can interact virtually—as friends, lovers, or trolls—and who may not even be who they say they are. Suddenly, we spend more time online than off, interacting in a world with no centralized publisher, no editor, no broadcaster controlling, filtering, or verifying content; all of our vast power to access and communicate anything at all is available without a pause or a retract button. Everyone has a platform. No professional-managerial class is in charge. No degree required.

This is not just new technology but a new way of being that has so fully transformed the world that it is hard to grasp how much we have changed. Yet, for our students, those born after 1993, there is no "before" and "after." It's difficult, cognitively, for them to even comprehend what came before this technological age. In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates tries to explain to his fifteen-year-old son how it was to live, think, and learn before the Internet: "For all of your life, whenever you've had a question you have been able to type that question out on a keyboard, watch it appear in a rectangular space bordered by a corporate logo, and within seconds revel in the flood of potential answers. But I still remember when typewriters were useful, the dawn of the Commodore 64, and days when a song you loved would have its moment on the radio and then disappear into the nothing.… For a young man like me, the invention of the Internet was the invention of space travel."

Space travel. The metaphor is evocative, and useful. There has been a before and after that most of my students today don't comprehend, which also means they don't fully grasp how unprepared the outmoded educational systems have left them in this world. Those of us who are old enough to recognize that we are living in new ways, as if on a new planet, must take responsibility and begin to think seriously about how to remake the university to equip students to thrive in this murky and often polluted new atmosphere that we now all breathe. In a world of such complexity—no human or collection of humans can begin to predict or parse the data our devices generate in a nanosecond—we're still going to school the way we did in 1993, which is to say, pretty much as we did in 1893.

What would it mean to redesign higher education for the intellectual space travel students need to thrive in the world we live in now? What would it mean to reorient educational paradigms that, at present, overly standardize, test, diagnose (from disability to giftedness and all points in between), specialize, and discipline students in one-way-transmission models inspired by the hierarchy of the factory and the assembly line, not the interactive Internet? What would it take to really educate students who do not know how, a full generation ago, a new technology changed everything and yet who must contend with, be prepared for, and find a way to prosper among these vast changes?

That's the challenge, as daunting as it seems. History is our friend here, because the difficulties we face in remaking higher education now are no greater than the ones Eliot and his peers faced little more than a century ago when they designed the modern US research university. They succeeded in an age as stressed and chaotic as our own. If they did it, why can't we?

In 1869, Charles Eliot wrote "The New Education," a stirring critique of existing forms of higher education in America and a manifesto for the higher education revolution he would go on to lead in his forty-year reign as president of Harvard. Published in two parts in The Atlantic Monthly, Eliot's essay begins with the provocative question asked by a father pondering his child's higher education: "What can I do with my boy?" The father says his son is not cut out for the careers the elite colleges prepared students for, namely, to be a "preacher or a learned man." Eliot acknowledges those colleges had become obsolete. "Here is a real need and a serious problem," he writes, before cataloguing the three kinds of education available and why they need to be revolutionized, top to bottom. He wrote this piece a few years after the Civil War and after a series of financial catastrophes had left the future in question. "The American people are fighting the wilderness, physical and moral, on the one hand, and on the other are struggling to work out the awful problem of self-government. For this fight they must be trained and armed." He then describes, in considerable detail, his vision for revolutionizing the university to prepare students for careers while educating them deeply enough to assume important roles in a fragile democracy.

Eliot and his colleagues succeeded in realizing that vision. And today, we find ourselves at a similar tipping point. So dramatically has society changed since Eliot's day, and especially in the last twenty years or so, that we need a "New Education" for our own time. Again we are confronting antiquated institutions that don't prepare students for the world beyond the academy. Again there is desperate need for education in active participation in what Eliot calls enlightened self-government.

Just as Eliot and others wholly remade the Puritan college, so too do we need to redesign higher education systemically and systematically, from the classroom to the board of trustees, from the fundamentals of how we teach and learn to how we measure outcomes, select, credential, and accredit in this hyperconnected, precarious time. Students today need so-called soft skills, including strategies, methods, and tactics for successful communication and collaboration. These are necessary to navigate a world in flux, where they cannot count on continuing for any length of time in the job or even the field for which they were originally trained.

Students need new ways of integrating knowledge, including through reflection on why and what they are learning. They don't need more "teaching to the test." They need to be offered challenges that promote their success after graduation, when all the educational testing has stopped. This is an engaged form of student-centered pedagogy known as "active learning." Students are encouraged to create new knowledge from the information around them and to use it to make a public, professional, or experiential contribution that has impact beyond the classroom. Students don't just master what an expert sets out for them but, rather, learn how to become experts themselves. It's a survival skill for the journey that is their lives.

Right now, our educational system focuses on tests and outputs, standards and institutional requirements. Redesigning higher education demands institutional restructuring, a revolution in every classroom, curriculum, and assessment system. It means refocusing away from the passive student to the whole person learning new ways of thinking through problems with no easy solutions. It shifts the goal of college from fulfilling course and graduation requirements to learning for success in the world after college. It means testing learning in serious and thoughtful ways, so that students take charge of what and how they know, how they collaborate, how they respond to feedback, and how they grow. It teaches them how to understand and lead productively in the changing world in which they live.

IT WILL NOT BE EASY TO TRANSFORM THE UNIVERSITY FROM THE inside. Many academics are traditionalists, and many institutions revere their traditions and are rewarded for them. They often reject innovation simply because it represents a departure from how things are done. Perhaps they too subscribe to the notion that higher education hasn't changed since the time of Socrates and aren't aware of how much of what they think of as traditional was devised for a very particular historical moment that no longer exists.

There are other challenges to higher education transformation that come from outside the academy. Two recent reform movements have promised to bring about sweeping change but in fact offer nothing of the sort. One is the educational technology movement, often championed by businesspeople and pundits who campaign for "modernizing" higher education and who advocate for the "end of college," with professors and classrooms replaced by new forms of technology. Whether from a misguided sense of what constitutes the right preparation for a precarious job market, an inadequate understanding of what technology can and cannot do, or vested commercial interests in high-cost technologies, many supposed innovators ignore how learning actually happens. Dumping iPads into conventional classrooms without changing teaching or assessment methods and putting traditional lecture courses online and grading them by automated multiple-choice testing systems simply digitizes nineteenth-century assumptions about standardized learning, narrow specialization, and passive pedagogy. Yet too often we glibly praise these attempts as not only visionary but also necessary to disrupt the hidebound, tweedy university.

Efforts of a second group of reformers overlap with those of the first. These politicians and critics call for more "skills training" to make students "workforce ready." They assume that humanities departments and programs such as women's and gender studies are a waste of time and money. They typically argue that only skills in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—lead to good jobs and economic growth. At the level of state and federal legislatures, they justify the radical defunding of public higher education on the grounds that we should be cutting away the "frills" outside of narrow job training. This is a disaster for youth in the new economy. Specific skills-defined jobs are doomed to obsolescence fast, through outsourcing and automation. IBM is convinced use of its robots, driven by artificial general intelligence, will eliminate whole swaths of middle-class employment in the next two decades, especially in the STEM sector. Anyone who claims to know which specific skills will protect students in the future is misinformed.

Some reformers have good intentions. Others are motivated by greed or ideology or both. Whatever their motives, their diagnosis that college is out-of-date is partially correct, but their prescriptions fail.

THESE REFORM MOVEMENTS STEM, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, FROM A deeper problem: we're living at a moment of low support for higher education, even as the need and the demand for college are higher than ever. The loss of faith in higher education as a public good deforms everything associated with it today. We know from numerous studies that the expansion of college beyond educating the elites has provided a pathway to the middle class and has been crucial to democracy. That was the finding of the Truman Commission during the early implementation of the GI Bill (the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944) in the wake of World War II. The Golden Age of American higher education spanned roughly from the GI Bill to the Great Society under President Lyndon Baines Johnson. In President Johnson's terms, the passage of the Higher Education Act of 1965 increased higher education funding, in particular, financial aid. When Ronald Reagan became governor of California, through the time when he was president of the United States, support for higher education turned in the opposite direction, with cutting of per capita funding. This downward trajectory has continued to the present.

Today, conservative forces, from the Tea Party to the US Department of Education under the Trump administration, wage the assault on higher education at the state and federal levels. In most states, the extreme cutbacks in higher education that resulted from the financial crisis of 2008 have not been reversed, even in states where other social goods and services have been returned to their pre-2008 levels. The war on higher education in some states has had devastating effects on students' lives and student debt. It has resulted in higher tuition, fewer course options and advising services, and exploited faculty. At universities, now nearly half of all courses are taught by adjunct, part-time laborers, some of whom effectively make less than the minimum wage.

This is terrible for students, for faculty, and for institutional change. The cuts in higher education that have damaged our public universities over the last decades make many faculty suspicious of change. With reason. In some states—notably, North Carolina and Iowa—governors or regents have intruded into faculty and administrative governance at the highest levels, replacing good leaders with political and ideological insiders and justifying the changes as part of "modernizing" strategies.

In the last decade, it has become fashionable to say higher education would be more efficient and modern if it were run as a business, treating students as "customers." This notion could not be more wrongheaded—wrong as a business model and wrong as a mission. It turns the massive investment we must make in the next generation's future into a cash cow for the handful of people producing whatever can be sold to educational institutions. The goal of helping young people transform themselves into adults who can thrive in tough times is subverted, turned into someone else's financial opportunity. A deep conflict of interest turns educational institutions into intermediaries in an operation whose primary goal is to report financial growth to shareholders while secondarily selling services and goods to students. Learning doesn't seem part of the business plan.

Traditional-age college students who were born after the invention of the Internet have spent their entire lives in an ecology of a disappearing, disrupted, distributed, disturbed, and disturbing economy. They have watched entire industries and professions change, shrink, or disappear: the music business, journalism, banking, law practice, entertainment, retail, college teaching. For the Uber generation, which has been called "Generation Flux," the new normal is contingent, on-demand, part-time labor. Many students expect to have jobs with no benefits, no insurance, no assurances, to pay expenses out of pocket, to have no promise of advancement or futurity. They see this diminished form of work in the adjunct professors they encounter: students are guided through their college journey by professors who have no job security; likely, neither will the students when they graduate.

MY STUDENTS WHO COME FROM THE MOST PRECARIOUS PERSONAL backgrounds have had and lost jobs and have witnessed their parents find and lose jobs. As they make their way through college, they want something more: a career, a vocation, a life path, a way to contribute, a way to make themselves and their families proud and their communities strong. They don't just want a skill for a changing world. They want to be changemakers. They don't just want to understand technology. They want to design technologies that serve society. That's what I want, too, from the future generation that will be leading the world even as their parents and grandparents prepare to retire from it.

At Duke University, where I spent most of my career as both a faculty member and an administrator charged with innovation, and now at the City University of New York, which I joined in July 2014 to create and direct the Futures Initiative, I have encountered thousands of students who are engaged, aware of the problems they have inherited, and determined to gain the skills necessary to address serious social ills. Pundits are just plain wrong about this Millennial generation. Google hasn't made them stupid; their iPhones don't make them lonely; college hasn't made them dumb and passive. They want to learn enough about the world to lead it. They want to do a better job addressing major world problems than their elders, frankly, have done.

Do they want jobs? Of course. But they don't want only jobs. They are too realistic to believe training for a job guarantees they'll get one. They are too idealistic to settle for an entry-level job when there is a chance they can build a pathway to a meaningful career. How can they accomplish their goals? How can we train them to succeed in a world that changes so fast that no one can predict what will happen next?

The college education we need today must prepare our students for their epic journey, the mountain and the cliff's edge. It should give them agency, arm them to take on a difficult world, to push back and not merely adapt to it.

If that sounds like a formidable challenge, there's good news ahead. On almost every college and university campus right now, smart educators—sometimes a handful of visionaries, sometimes a substantial cohort—are working on new models for higher education. This is happening at community colleges, liberal arts colleges, regional public universities, and massive state universities. If you are a parent or a prospective student, it's important to consider these institutions. One might be a better match for your child's or your goals than a more expensive, high-prestige university. In our most exclusive educational enclaves, too, innovative faculty members and programs are trying to make change. We don't often hear about them, but they are there. The New Education is also for them, with the hope that the models explored here will inspire others to strike out on their own way forward. To revolutionize the university, we don't just need a model. We need a movement.

On an institutional level, this movement seeks to redesign the university beyond the inherited disciplines, departments, and silos by redefining the traditional boundaries of knowledge and providing an array of intellectual forums, experiences, programs, and projects that push students to use a variety of methods to discover comprehensive and original answers. What shapes belief ? How do we change minds? Typically, bold and relevant programs already exist at our institutions. Often they are interdisciplinary programs, with uncertain funding and no faculty hiring power, and yet they are better suited to solving the problems students will face in the real world. They cover the range of complex skills employers routinely ask for. These programs often span undergraduate and professional education. An interdisciplinary program in environmental solutions, for example, requires understanding the science of ecology plus knowledge in the fields of law, engineering, computation, policy, regulation, and business. It requires some statistics, data science, and a rigorous, practical logic course in how to evaluate evidence. If the program's goal is to educate students in how to actually implement solutions (not just study them), then it must require human and social science disciplines so that students understand culture, politics, ideology, economic theory, and the dynamics of power—all of the social factors that can promote or impede progress toward resolving a chronic problem.


  • "The New Education" is an inspiring, well-researched, and compellingly written manifesto for a revolution in learning and teaching. It is a book for everyone who wants to understand why and how universities need to be reimagined for the twenty-first century--those who have been 'educated' and those who aspire to be. It is the most important book I have read in many years."—Tony Wagner, Harvard University i-lab expert in residence and author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators
  • "Davidson is one of the most thoughtful voices from within academia calling for a more student-centered university. The New Education is a welcome collection of stories detailing how professors, administrators and students are designing paths through higher education that are relevant to our changing culture and society... At her best, Davidson writes in the tradition of Du Bois and Dewey, a pragmatist tradition that puts inquiry first and sees learning through the potential of the full, complex human beings students can become."—Washington Post
  • "Davidson argues persuasively that student-centered, active learning can transform classrooms and even online courses... [her] enthusiasm and her examples should inspire creativity from a lot more college teachers."—New York Times Book Review
  • "The fact that Davidson is able to bridge her narrative on the history and future of higher education across a popular and academic audience is a testimony to her skills as a scholar, an educator, and a writer. Davidson knows her stuff, has something to say, and has clearly worked very hard in crafting a book that should be discussed by everyone who cares about higher education... Powerfully argued, beautifully written, and doggedly grounded in research and examples."—Technology & Learning, Inside Higher Education
  • “It’s Davidson who has a vision for what education could and should be that’s consistent with the traditional values of freedom, opportunity and progress we associate with education.”—John Warner, Chicago Tribune
  • “I am aware that I cannot do justice to the merits of this book, let alone capture the depths of Davidson’s insights, in a few thousand words, but I do think I can make enough points sufficiently to warrant why readers should commit themselves to examining this volume, sharing it with others, and most importantly help to enact changes in higher education offered in this work.”—Richard Leo Enos, Athenaeum
  • “I found the book to be a succinct (it isn’t long), interesting (particularly the historical perspectives on problems that plague us today), practical (so many references and case studies of success!) guide to the big problems in universities. The book is also written in a funny and light-hearted way, despite the gravity of some of the issues that are discussed. I’d strongly recommend it to all HE colleagues, and especially to staff in managerial positions. We’re the ones who need to make the change.”—Christopher Hassall, Katatrepsis
  • “Read it. And change the world! If you are an academic or a student or an administrator, begin with college.”
     —Susan D. Blum, Academography
  • "The New Education takes a good hard look at the old education, and finds it sorely wanting. Are colleges and universities failing an entire generation of young people? Yes, argues Cathy N. Davidson, a renowned literary scholar and a leader in higher education reform. This is an important and illuminating book whose argument is driven by a deep knowledge of the past and an even deeper commitment to the future."—Jill Lepore, David Woods Kemper '42 Professor of American History, Harvard University
  • "The New Education compels us to equip our students with creative new tactics for navigating the volatile present. Grounded in a deep understanding of both historical and current crises in education, Davidson challenges us to reinvigorate and reconsider our approach to reform."—Danah Boyd, author of It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens
  • "The New Education offers valuable reflections on ways educators can reexamine approaches to preparing young women and men for a rapidly evolving modern world. Grounded in decades of classroom experience and scholarly inquiry, Cathy N. Davidson makes a compelling case for educators to interrogate traditional structures in higher education, and help students seek, in her words, 'a sustained and productive life.'"—John J. DeGioia, president Georgetown University
  • "Cathy N. Davidson offers us an inspiring and lucid explanation of how we got the educational system we have and how to build the one our students and our country needs and deserves. A must-read for those interested in higher education."—Diana Taylor, president, Modern Language Association, and university professor, New York University
  • “She pulls no punches and writes in a style that challenges and encourages in equal measure. She is a doyen of the progressive education movement, and her ideas are far reaching and influential.”—Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor in Learning Technology, Plymouth, Devon, UK
  • “In her book The New Education, Davidson emphasizes the importance of higher education as a place of transformation for students, making the role of the teaching in the academy a critical one. Tracing the evolution of the university from the seventeenth century through today, Davidson … argues that our contemporary world has moved far beyond the nineteenth-century paradigms that the current university was designed for, and that it’s past time for colleges and universities to evolve as well.”—Cathy LeBlanc
  • "An engaging, anecdotal, wide-ranging look at educational innovation... a persuasive plea for creative learning."—Kirkus Reviews

On Sale
May 10, 2022
Page Count
352 pages
Basic Books

Cathy N. Davidson

About the Author

Cathy N. Davidson directs the Futures Initiative at CUNY. She is the author of many books, including Now You See It, and has written for the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company, among others. Davidson lives in New York City.

Learn more about this author