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

Arthur Levine , Diane R. Dean

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Book Description

Sept. 4 2012 0470376295 978-0470376294 3rd Revised edition
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

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“Over the last four decades, Arthur Levine has become the premier analyst of continuities and changes in the American college student population. In this impressive and comprehensive volume, Levine and coauthor Diane Dean provide an authoritative and richly textured picture of the much-discussed current generation.” —Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Arthur Levine and Diane R. Dean take the long view of today’s generation of college students. This is a brilliant examination of what has shaped our young people, what they are doing with the tools they have, and where they are headed. It is a diagnosis of what ails them, a celebration of their strengths, and a compelling and generous prescription for their future—and ours.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

“Through this captivating portrait of the aspirations, values, and unique needs of today’s college students, Levine and Dean’s clearly written and engaging book ought to generate a national discussion of how higher education can be restructured in order to respond to and prepare the next generation of college-educated adults—not only for effective functioning in the workplace, but also to live lives as whole human beings who can help to lead our society to a healthier place.” —Alexander W. Astin and Helen S. Astin, distinguished professors of higher education emeriti, UCLA, and authors, Cultivating the Spirit: How Higher Education can Enhance Students’ Inner Lives

“I can’t say enough about how important this work is. This book is right on the mark for what needs to be known and understood about today’s college students by those who are responsible for educating the future leaders and citizens of the world.” —Gwen Dungy, Executive Director, Emeritus, NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student is a must-read for college presidents, administrators, and professors as well as parents, employers, and government leaders—who all have a stake in student success. Understanding who today’s college students are is essential as we collaboratively develop and deliver the education that will prepare this generation to build our future.” —Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting facts, so-so writing Feb. 13 2013
By CMC - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a disclaimer, I read this book as part of a graduate program I am enrolled in, so I am much closer in age to the generation being spoken about throughout the book than the lead author. I found the data presented within the book very interesting and certainly useful to anyone who is working with current students. However, I would caution people to take any of the interpretations of this data presented within the book with a rather large grain of salt. While I do find some of the author's assessments of the current generation of college students fair based on the data, some of them seem somewhat baseless, or at least to be a bit of a stretch from what the data would explicitly imply. Some sections, particularly those relating to students' technology use and communication skills sound somewhat hostile to those of us who are part of the "digital native" generation. As with any books written about a very large population, please read with the knowledge and understanding that generalizations have to be made (a book that encompasses the many diverse experiences of college students completely accurately would be a nearly impossible task).

Again though, for the informed consumer the data in this book can be quite useful, and this book might be more useful to practitioners/professors who are farther from the generation being highlighted than to those of us who are closer/potentially part of the data set.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read with insightful views Aug. 30 2013
By Terri Fahnestock - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this book as a part of my Masters program for Higher Education in Student Affairs. This book was used in conjunction with "College Students in the United States" by Kristen A. Renn. Generation on a Tightrope reads like a story. It helps paint a picture of the types of students we see today. The book has been revised since it's first publication which to me speaks volumes on how the author tries to stay current with the times. I would recommend this book for anyone in higher education or high school education to help get to know their students.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taught me a lot. Feb. 18 2013
By Lisa - Published on
I really learned a lot from this book.

It isn't perfect. By necessity it's a bit academic in tone...a challenge to any author citing tons of data. But it's also personable and likable.

I didn't read the reviews before writing this but noted there are a few negative ones. My guess they come down to author bias. Which might be fair. However, the authors built up their biases from over 30 years of studies so, while all readers should obviously decide on their own if they agree with conclusions, I thought the conclusions were fair.

Are the authors tough on the younger generation? Yes, but so what. One of the key points is that parents and schools haven't always been tough enough.

Key reading for anyone who wants to understand the younger generation, the way schools are educating them, where they're taking our future and how the world is evolving as a result.

Great book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for college staff and employers July 26 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
This is one of my touchstones. The author did not set out to do this, but he conducted an in-depth survey of college students three times, each time ten years apart. The result is an unparalleled longitudinal study - quantitative and qualitative - spanning 30 years. Add to this the fact that he has a brilliant analytical mind for connecting the dots and interpreting the results, plus a gifted writing style that makes it a joy to read, and you have a wonderful perspective on the root causes of the behaviors and attitudes that our young people have, and why these are causing them so much trouble. I highly recommend it, and think you will find it fascinating and thought-provoking.

Alfred Poor
5.0 out of 5 stars " It was a perfect profile of an entire generation of college students July 17 2014
By Larry East Bay - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the most influential books I've read in my l-o-n-g career as a university administrator is Levine's "When Dreams And Heroes Died." It was a perfect profile of an entire generation of college students: what they liked, what they thought, how they acted. This book, "Generation On A Tightrope," is just as good. Levine has talked with thousands of today's college students, individually and in groups, and categorized their answers in a way that allows us to see a real picture of these students. An amazingly complete book. If you work with today's college students, this must be on your personal reading list!

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