Providing a non-partisan model for generating and sharing          

    essential information on public issues and proposed solutions              

10th Anniversary :  2005- 06 to 2015-16

   
                                                                                                  About Civic Caucus   l   Interviews & Responses  l   Position Reports   l   Contact Us   l   Home  

Pribbenow - Boyte Interview                                                                              Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.

These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

Paul Pribbenow, president, and Harry Boyte, senior scholar, of Augsburg College

Should higher education reject elitism and return to  solving real community problems?

December 12, 2015
 

Overview

According to Harry Boyte, senior scholar at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, we must think of colleges and universities as more than a private good, more than a ticket to a job, but as a public resource. He believes that is the legacy of the land-grant tradition, in which there was a great sense of interactivity, partnership and collaborative work and university scholars were seen as grounded in the public problems of society. But he says that vision goes against the conventional wisdom of higher education today, where elitism has become common, along with detachment from community engagement.

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow says colleges can play a critical role both in equipping students to go out into the world with a sense of agency, no matter what their profession is, and in finding ways to be part of the community. The fact that by 2020, 70 percent of the jobs in Minnesota will require some type of postsecondary certificate or degree presents a challenge that will require alignment across all postsecondary institutions in the state. The schools, he says, must do what they each do best, so they can be complementary to each other.

Boyte notes that our understanding of science has shifted over the years, which has affected the whole research culture in higher education today. That culture now prides itself on being detached from the real world. This is an erosion, he says, of the old understanding of land-grant research, which was about the human condition and engaging with problems in the state. He points out that only Massachusetts requires colleges to report on their work in civic engagement. Pribbenow laments the fact that Minnesota doesn't have a forum where higher education institutions and systems come together to talk about collaboration.

For the complete interview summary see: Pribbenow/Boyte interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, readers rated these statements about the topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

1. Topic is of value. (8.1 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. (6.7 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

Readers rated the following points discussed during the meeting on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

3. Elitism harms partnership with community. (7.5 average response) Postsecondary institutions—particularly land-grant institutions—have become too elitist and are failing to fulfill their obligation to partner with the communities in which they reside.

4. Detachment is mistakenly valued. (8.0 average response) Such institutions are misguided in aspiring to be value-free and detached from their communities; instead they should strive to be more connected to the problems of society.

5. Prepare students to be change agents, leaders. (8.7 average response) Postsecondary institutions should prepare students to be agents of change in solving society’s problems and to provide leadership in their communities and their organizations.

6. Use assets as community resources. (8.2 average response) These institutions should use all their assets--buildings, research capacity, purchasing power, and convening power--as resources for the community.

7. Collaborate on community outreach. (8.2 average response) Moreover, postsecondary institutions should work together in promoting community involvement and hold each other

accountable for their civic engagement.

8. Forum needed for collaboration. (7.5 average response) Minnesota does not at present have an adequate forum for convening postsecondary institutions to facilitate collaboration.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

0%

8%

8%

46%

38%

13

2. Further study warranted.

8%

15%

8%

46%

23%

13

3. Elitism harms partnership with community.

8%

0%

23%

38%

31%

13

4. Detachment is mistakenly valued.

0%

8%

23%

31%

38%

13

5. Prepare students to be change agents, leaders.

0%

8%

8%

23%

62%

13

6. Use assets as community resources.

0%

15%

0%

31%

54%

13

7. Collaborate on community outreach.

0%

8%

0%

46%

46%

13

8. Forum needed for collaboration.

0%

0%

42%

25%

33%

12

Individual Responses:

Bert LeMunyon (7.5) (7.5) (5) (7.5) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (5)
8. Forum needed for collaboration. Why doesn't Augsburg take the initiative and attempt to establish such a Forum?

Ray Ayotte (5) (0) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

John Mullins (7.5) (2.5) (0) (5) (5) (2.5) (7.5) (5)
1. Topic is of value. The U already works to develop and enhance state industries. Just look at college of agriculture and the medical school for examples. While I bemoan all the rankings and ratings in today’s higher Ed environment, I think we should be very careful about re-establishing General College at the U with all the attendant non-credit remedial courses. If students can't meet the basic studs in English or math, it is not the job of the U to get them qualified. These students have options in the state colleges from which they can transfer to the U once they become proficient. The cost to reestablish a large remedial Education system at the U would be huge.

Dennis L. Carlson (10) (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
1. Topic is of value. This is a critical, timely topic.

3. Elitism harms partnership with community. They want the tax dollar but avoid the accountability that goes with it.

5. Prepare students to be change agents, leaders. My career choice of 30 years (Community Education) did not exist when I went to college. The pace of creating new jobs is much faster now than it was in past decades.

6. Use assets as community resources. Shared facilities among higher education institutions would be a welcome goal.

8. Forum needed for collaboration. There really is no forum for any discussion on education other than the legislature, which is almost entirely politicized. The teacher seniority debate that is currently underway serves as an example. There is a need for compromise and at least some educational reform but neither side is willing to move off an extreme partisan position.

Great topic choices. Thank you for including me in these summaries. Great job.

Martin Sabo (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Leigh Lenzmeier (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
1. Topic is of value. Only a beginning.

2. Further study warranted. Cut funding for comic book feel good majors

3. Elitism harms partnership with community. The goal of every professor is to get out of the classroom and into administration

4. Detachment is mistakenly valued. Does the explosion of online learning tell schools anything?

5. Prepare students to be change agents, leaders. The degree model is dying.

6. Use assets as community resources. Relevancy is a wonderful thing

7. Collaborate on community outreach. Stop viewing host communities as "them".

8. Forum needed for collaboration. Schools don't see communities as having anything to offer

Accredited programs are for faculty benefit not students. Schools long ago lost sight that the student is the customer

Vici Oshiro (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (5) (7.5) (10) (7.5) (7.5)
4. Detachment is mistakenly valued. Substantial variation here. My alma mater has some interesting areas of cooperation with the town.

5. Prepare students to be change agents, leaders. Are students ready? Some need real world experience and understanding before they can absorb some of what Harry Boyte and others are trying to teach.

Pat Barnum (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na)
Really – that is your subject line and premise? Might I suggest a topic that doesn’t require you to answer "have you stopped beating your wife?"

Gary Rantala (8) (8) (9) (9) (10) (10) (10) (5)
I believe this information is extremely important to our high school instructors and students aspiring to enter postsecondary educational colleges, schools and training programs.

Chuck Lutz (9) (7) (8) (9) (10) (9) (8) (9)

Wayne Jennings (10) (10) (9) (10) (10) (10) (10) (na)
A refreshing and honest portrayal of current conditions and where we should aim. The publish or perish philosophy doesn’t serve most colleges well. Hats off to Augsburg’s Pribbenow for their changes toward equity and a more democratic and involved institution. Hats off also to Harry Boyte for his lifelong commitment and efforts at making higher education more attuned to the needs of society and participative with societal organizations for community betterment. However, I don’t have a lot of confidence in seeing these efforts implemented given the self-serving and insolated nature of higher education. It may be necessary for breakthroughs and progress to create new divisions or departments within the institution.

Larry Schluter (7) (5) (5) (5) (8) (7) (7) (5)
I noticed that Mr Pribbenow has primarily worked at high tuition private college[s]. Is he the one to lead this discussion?

Paul Hauge (10) (9) (9) (9) (9) (8) (7) (9)

Tom Spitznagle (4) (3) (5) (4) (3) (3) (2) (5)

 

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
Dan Loritz (Chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman

 

 

 


©
The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.  civiccaucus@comcast.net
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.
 

contact webmaster