Check out the new Inside Higher Education Q&A with authors Stephen M. Gavazzi and E. Gordon Gee here.
Q: You write that land-grant universities should be more “fiercely land grant.” What does that mean?
Gee: In the book, we discuss the immense pressures that universities place upon themselves to be more like each other. This is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing. The higher education system in the United State has been so successful precisely because of its diversity, not despite it. We even see this push for homogeneity affecting religiously based institutions, with the sometimes subtle and other times not-so-subtle message that they should act “less religious.” We think quite the opposite. Catholic universities should be more fiercely Catholic, Baptist universities should be more fiercely Baptist, and so on. Similarly, although there is no formal religion involved, we believe that land-grant universities should be more fiercely land grant in their orientation.
Gavazzi: While we may sound a bit evangelical, this is the same sort of message that was delivered by the Kellogg Commission over 20 years ago when they titled their report “Returning to Our Roots.” It’s a call to get back to our original mission, to place the highest value on meeting the needs of the communities that we were designed to serve.