Shulman Chronicle Essay May 9 2024

ACLS Vice President James Shulman what is needed to achieve systems change in higher education today in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In his “Review” essay, Shulman argues that over-reliance on “the perfect people with just the right temperaments in the right position to make a change” has brought on the inertia seen in higher education today and that institutions should instead embrace “an overarching framework for change” to see real movement.

The first thing to keep in mind is that everyone who works for a college has both material needs and symbolic needs — a need to find meaning in their work. Efforts at change must deal with both of these needs simultaneously and continuously. James Shulman in the Chronicle of Higher Education

The essay references ACLS efforts like the Luce Design Workshop for a New Academy and highlights the forward-looking guidelines of ACLS member societies, including the American History Association, Modern Language Association, and American Sociological Association, as well as Shulman’s book The Synthetic University: How Higher Education Can Benefit from Shared Solutions and Save Itself, which was published by Princeton University Press in October 2023.

Read the full essay.