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Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis [Paperback]

James Cote , Anton L. Allahar
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 26 2007

The present state of the university is a difficult issue to comprehend for anyone outside of the education system. If we are to believe common government reports that changes in policy are somehow making life easier for university graduates, we cannot help but believe that things are going right and are getting better in our universities. Ivory Tower Blues gives a decidedly different picture, examining this optimistic attitude as it impacts upon professors, students, and administrators in charge of the education system.

Ivory Tower Blues is a frank account of the contemporary university, drawing on the authors? own research and personal experiences, as well as on input from students, colleagues, and administrators. James E. Côté and Anton L. Allahar offer an insider?s account of the university system, an accurate, alternative view to that overwhelmingly presented to the general public. Throughout, the authors argue that fewer and fewer students are experiencing their university education in ways expected by their parents and the public. The majority of students are hampered by insufficient preparation at the secondary school level, lack of personal motivation, and disillusionment. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no administrative or governmental procedure in place to maintain standards of education.

Ivory Tower Blues is an in-depth look at the crisis facing Canadian and American universities, the factors that are precipitating the situation, and the long-term impact this crisis will have on the quality of higher education.

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About the Author

James E. Côté is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario.

Anton L. Allahar is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Universities are in crisis June 28 2009
This book tries to explain why the University system in Canada and the United States is in crisis. I have not studied. lived or even traveled to North America, but reading this book gave me the opportunity to realize why the Greek higher educational system is in a severe situation. Roughly, the authors argue that one reason for the decline of higher education is that today's students come to university with inflated grades and expectations, as a result of parental push for higher grades. In the end, these students are ill-prepared for university level studies. This push is evident even in universities were students and people outside the academia push professors to give higher grades to students. Unfortunately, I believe that the escalation of this situation will have as result the creation of armies of PhDs. To go one step further, I would say that the problem has affected even scientific journals and the quality of papers being published. All in all, I consider this book a must-read for everyone. After all, we all are parents and have to have an understanding of the current situation in universities.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Update on Ivory Tower Blues March 8 2008
This is a comment from one of the authors of Ivory Tower Blues.

Jason Wray''s comments about typos are out of date. Because of the media attention we received while the book was being written, it was rushed into print and unfortunately the editors overlooked several typos. We apologize to readers of this first printing. The book is now into its fourth printing and the typos have been corrected. A French edition will be released soon.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ugly truth, ugly proofreading June 22 2007
Ivory Tower Blues is a timely, important look at our sliding University system. While the language is at times dense and academic (appropriate for its authors, of course), the message is straightforward and alarming. I have seen much of the problems discussed here throughout my education, and I sincerely wish I could have read this back when I was still in high school. This should be recommended to all students, and certainly discussed; it would be an insult to the material for this book to be held up as a high truth to be learned from only one side or merely skimmed over by intended readers.

That having been said, I think this book needs to be revised a little. I was disappointed to have been wrapped up in a passage only to get derailed by a missing word or a misspelling (the sort you find in a word processor, where it is a word, just not the right one).
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The inconvenient truth about higher education Aug. 27 2010
By Craig Brandon - Published on Amazon.com
When I was doing the research for my book "The Five-Year Party" this book was a real eye-opener about why quality was deteriorating and why parents were paying more and more for an education that provides less and less. Its description of students' attitudes towards education - they want high grades but don't want to do any work - described the problem perfectly.

While the book is a little dense at times -- after all, it was writted by two sociology professors - it should be required reading for all parents about to send their children to college.
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