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Cool Passion: Challenging Higher Education

Supporting the Profession
February 24, 2014 Associates Arthur W. Chickering

Arthur W. Chickering is one of the leading researchers in student development theory and its implications for higher education. In 1969 he published Education and Identity, which posited seven vectors to describe the personal development of students during college. It received the 1969 American Council on Education’s Eleanor Colford Morris book award for its contribution to higher education, and that recognition took Chickering out of the woods of Vermont and propelled him onto the national scene.

Cool Passion: Challenging Higher Education is Chickering’s candid and revealing autobiography in which he tells the extraordinary story of his life and career. He recounts his childhood and adolescent years in New England, detailing his misadventures in school and struggles to find purpose and meaning—experiences that would lay the foundation for his lifelong values and beliefs. In Chickering’s own words, “You could have given 1000:1 odds against this character ever becoming a Distinguished Professor.” However, ultimately, his professional narrative would become a powerful statement of how his influential educational constructs grew out of these lived experiences.

The second part of the book centers on Chickering’s 50-plus year career and five key areas where he has contributed to critical changes: civic learning and democratic engagement, assessment, pedagogy, student services, and student diversity. He and five coauthors address these areas that reflect both emerging issues in higher education as well as many of Chickering’s major accomplishments. He offers a personal perspective that puts flesh and blood on these changes and suggests where higher education can go from here, consistent with his longstanding commitment to human development.

Chickering touches the reader with his honesty and courage as he reveals himself so publicly and also shares astute insights about American higher education during the past five decades. His story illuminates his enduring commitment to helping students become lifelong learners, dedicated workers, caring parents, and engaged citizens. Cool Passion is sure to educate, fascinate, and inspire college and university administrators, faculty members, and student affairs professionals at all levels as well as those entering the profession.

Hardcover | 2014 | 340 pages


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