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Eric Mlyn, Duke University assistant vice provost for civic engagement and executive director of DukeEngage, has co-authored an article that appeared today in the Huffington Post.

The article was a collaborative effort with Amanda Moore McBride, associate professor and associate dean for social work, and director of the Gephardt Institute for Public Service at Washington University in St. Louis.

Titled “Civic Engagement and Higher Education at a Crossroads”, the article begins:


For those of us who went in to higher education in part to hide out in the ivory tower, it looks like the party is over. What we do, how we do it, how well we do it and how much it costs have now become matters of significant public and political debate. The challenges are well known and clear. Cost and access have arguably always been of concern, but never more so than now. 

Other prevailing issues demand reflection and response. Students are graduating with crushing debt burdens, and their potential employers are telling us that they are not prepared for the work place. The explosion of online education and in particular the rise of MOOCs threatens to provide something for “free” that many of us are charging nearly $60,000 a year for. Our very home communities are questioning our value to them, especially as many of us are exempt from paying property taxes. 

Simultaneous to this “crisis” in American higher education is the continued growth of the civic engagement movement on our campuses. Civic engagement is not, of course, a panacea for the ills of higher education, but it can be part of the solution. 

See the article in its entirety here.