Re-Inventing Ourselves: Interdisciplinary Education, Collaborative Learning and Experimentation in Higher Education

Barbara Leigh Smith and John McCann (2001)

Although widely regarded as having the finest system of higher education in the world, most American colleges and universities have been slow to embrace innovation and needed reforms—even as studies evidence the potential benefits to undergraduate learning experiences. In Reinventing Ourselves, the authors examine the evolution of alternative types of teaching and learning in order to provide a supportive context for reinventing the academy around new cultures, structures, and practices.

Intended for reform-minded college professors and administrators, this book examines the experiences of over 20 different institutions pioneering new approaches for more effective teaching and learning. To facilitate a better understanding of these alternatives, the book provides

  • Historical perspectives and examples of institutional experiments that influenced the development of new colleges and programs
  • Ways in which organizational structure, culture, and pedagogy are changing
  • Examples of impediments to institutional change
  • A conceptualization of a coherent organizational structure and faculty culture
  • Quantitative and qualitative reports that assess the effectiveness of ongoing efforts to adopt new approaches to teaching and learning
  • An overview of lessons from past attempts to reinvent the academy
  • New directions for alternative education

Calling for both a rethinking of existing approaches to teaching and learning, and for a review of the traditional boundaries within institutions and between disciplines, this book offers a rich store of ideas for reforming higher education in America.