Won’t Lose This Dream: How an Upstart Urban University Rewrote the Rules of a Broken System

Andrew Gumbel. New Press, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-62097-470-4
Journalist Gumbel (Down for the Count) explains in this well-researched and provocative account how Georgia State University reengineered itself over the past decade into “a national leader in higher education.” Through interviews with administrators, teachers, students, and outside partners, Gumbel documents the transformation of a strategic planning process to steer the university through the Great Recession into a comprehensive, data-driven, and student-focused redesign of the college experience. Chapters focus on individual initiatives, including an overhaul of student advising and orientation, the development of a chatbot to communicate with newly enrolled students, and the creation of a morale-boosting football team. Gumbel credits university president Mark Becker and religious studies professor Tim Renick, among others, for improving retention and graduation rates, and poignantly profiles the minority, low-income, and first-generation college students who form the bulk of Georgia State’s student body. The school’s achievements, Gumbel argues, provide a model for the systemic overhaul needed to make college into an engine for social mobility after “four decades of inequality, exclusionary policy-making, and sky-rocketing costs.” Accessible and inspirational, this enthusiastic account lays out a persuasive vision for reform. Educators and policy makers should consider it a must-read. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/26/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-62097-471-1
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