American Higher Education in Crisis?: What Everyone Needs to Know®


Goldie Blumenstyk’s new book, American Higher Education in Crisis?, should be required reading for anyone interested in the future of higher education — faculty, trustees, executives, and government officials, as well as analysts and pundits. , President, Georgia Regents University


“American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know,” deconstructs the journey into the future for higher education by posing the key questions facing higher education, policy makers, leaders, and academics. The books narrative, well worth the read, is structured into four narrative parts.

  • Part One: Students, focuses 14 questions from the learner. A provocative read, providing a sound introduction to some key issues. The scope of the book does not address many questions surrounding learning. What is learned, how it is learned, and what role does the learning experience play in the future of America and global communities. These questions, when viewed in light of the emerging global digital learning ecosystem, make the answer to the ‘crisis question’ a more profound yes.
  • Part Two; Costs, Spending, and Debt posits 32 questions regarding finance and economics. The questions focus on subjects common to the mainstream news and topics of interest in the existing fiscal conundrum. They do much to demystify and clarify the issues. The approach is helpful. A more analytical approach would be required to address the larger question of what is the strategic economic value of higher education as a foundation for building a new model for financing the enterprise. When deeper analytical details are considered, the portrait of the crisis grows more profound  and more complex as all 50 states and the nations around the world grapple with fiscal sustainability.
  • Part Three; Who’s in charge? Leadership pressures-from within and without is framed by 15 questions on selected topics. They provide a succinct populous view of some of the key issues and public dialogues and frame the most common fairly well. These may serve to open a Pandora’s Box of leadership challenges facing academe.
  • Part Four: What’s ahead is framed by 12 fairly short-termed questions. Acknowledging disruption as a major force confronting American Higher Education the author opens the door to deeper discussions concerning the future of higher education institutions

The real quest is to devise a sustainable learning system. Higher education globally is experiencing a Paradigm Shift to an emerging Global Digital Learning Ecosystem that is paving the pathways to the Learning Age. As the dawn of the Learning Age sheds new light on the potential of a Global Digital Learning Ecosystem, education can be expected to pass through at least three stages of change.

  • Disruptive change, characterized by two paradigms colliding abruptly. Fear, anger, disbelief, and resistance are natural reactions during this period of adjustment. (see Digital Darwinism)
  • Adaptive change, characterized by educators making use of the functionality of the digital environments but resisting substantive change to the system that controls and manages it.
  • Optimized change constructs a new system around the new paradigm and the adaptive learning culture that it nurtures. New realities shape the need for validated credentials and new features and functions evolve within the emerging digitized learning environment.

The Author’s deep experience covering higher education is evident in this work. While the issues Higher Education faces go beyond the acknowledged scope of this book, the challenges summarized in it, are a great starting place. It is a must read for anyone believing they have a right to an opinion on American Higher Education.


Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology

The California School of Organizational Studies Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory, Skills, and Techniques

November 15, 2002/ The 31 chapters organized into 8 sections are a treasure for any one who serves in a consulting role. The text is written for psychologist but is of extraordinary value for consultants in all domains. Of broad interest are the chapters on “Assessing Candidates for Leadership Positions,” “Individual Level Variables,” “The Effectiveness of Executive Coaching,” “Integrating Individual Assessment, Position Requirements, Team-Based Competencies, and Organizational Vision,” “Successfully Implementing Teams,” “Proactive Ways to Improve Leadership Performance,” and two areas on Organizational Performance. Well worth both the price and the time to read it. – MGD

November 12, 2002/ The value of The California School of Organizational Studies Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology goes far beyond what the title might indicate. This is a must read for anyone who works in the realm of organizational transformation or who works in a consulting capacity. We have selected it as the November 2002 Featured Selection for Transforming Education Bookstore and highly recommend it. – MGD

Editorial Reviews


“Rodney Lowman has done it again! He has edited a book that is unique, comprehensive, and aimed squarely at the science and practice of psychology in organizations. This book shows a remarkable breadth of coverage: topics traditional and cutting edge, science and practice, issues within and across levels, by contributions with extensive and diverse experience in organizational consulting. There’s something here for anyone interested in a psychological approach to consulting in organizations.”
— Rosemary Hays-Thomas, professor of psychology, The University of West Florida

The Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology addresses a longtime need for a new comprehensive major work in consulting psychology. It is broad in scope and clearly integrates topics in consulting psychology that are at the core of the field and which reflect recent innovations in the application of consulting principles and techniques. The scope and depth of this book is not only timely but unique. I would expect this book to become an essential reference for all consulting psychologists.”
—Clyde A. Crego, California State University Long Beach and University of Southern California and former president, American Psychological Association Division of Consulting Psychology and Fellow, APA

“My one-word reaction: WOW! Aptly entitled a handbook, it could nevertheless well serve as a basic text in the field. It may have its greatest benefit to those who are transiting from more specialized work into organizational consulting, since it lays out a broad range of issues that one may encounter and ought to be prepared to deal with along with some practical advice on how to handle them.”
—Kenneth H. Bradt, consulting psychologist and past president, Society of Consulting Psychology, American Psychological Association

From the Back Cover

The Definitive Handbook for Organizational Consulting Psychology “This is the first book to provide an overview of the broad range of services that consulting psychologists provide to individuals, teams, and systems. In addition, it provides insight into specialty areas such as international consulting and the ethical issues confronted when doing this work. One of its major contributions is its emphasis on ways to assess the impact and effectiveness of various consulting interventions. It will be a useful tool for senior practitioners as well as to those who hope to enter the field.”
— Judith S. Blanton, senior consultant and director of professional affairs, RHR International

The Handbook of Consulting Psychology provides information that is both comprehensive and cutting edge. The content provides helpful insights for those beginning their career in the field as well as those who have been consulting for years.”
— Steve Gravenkemper, vice president, organizational consulting, Right Management Consultants

“This book would be an invaluable addition to the professional library of any psychologist or student of psychology who is involved with organizational consultation.The handbook is a most impressive and scientifically sound text. I cannot praise it highly enough.”
— Florence L. Denmark, Robert Scott Pace Distinguished Professor emerita, Psychology Department, Pace University

“Far from being yet another book in consulting psychology, The Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology marks the coming of age of consulting psychology as a field. The contributors systematically offer both breadth and depth to the actual workings of consulting psychology. The book is to be recommended not only as a ‘state-of-the-art’ document, but also as evidence of the fruition of the field. It is an historic marker of the distinctiveness of consulting psychology, a kind of ‘declaration of independence’ for the discipline. It deserves to be a classic.”
— Howard F. Stein, professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City

Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

This book by Daniel T. Willingham who earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Harvard University in 1990 and currently is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. A bit more about the author from Amazon “Until 2000, his research focused solely on the brain basis of learning and memory. Today, all of his research concerns the application of cognitive psychology to K-12 education. He writes the “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column for American Educator magazine, and is an Associate Editor of Mind, Brain, and Education. He is also the author of Why Don’t Students Like School? (Jossey-Bass) and When Can You Trust the Experts? (Jossey-Bass). His writing on education has been translated into ten languages.”

I am not going to actually publish my review of the book here, today but rather steer you to a review on Amazon written by Ben Babcock. This thoughtful reflection by an individual entering teaching as a profession is a great introduction to Willingham’s book and to the field of cognitive science.


Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction

Editors Mayer and Alexander have compiled 22 chapters synthesizing research in Learning (Part I) and Instruction (Part II). Readers must remember that this is a compiled compendium of meta analysis in 22 selected topics, 11 in Learning and 11 in Instruction. I believe it is a must own and read for every graduate student, faculty in any field of education. I also believe it is a must read for all academic administrators. The Handbook provides a cogent summary and balanced view of the subjects covered although it may not do justice to conflicts in certain areas and disciplines as pointed out in the opinion of another reviewer. I do not believe this diminishes the vale of the Editors and Contributors work.I have recommended this book to numerous clients with very favorable results and consistent votes of among the most valuable in recent reads.
– Michael G. Dolence


From the jacket

During the past twenty years researchers have made exciting progress in the science of learning (i.e., how people learn) and the science of instruction (i.e., how to help people learn). This Handbook examines learning and instruction in a variety of classroom and non-classroom environments and with a variety of learners, both K-16 students and adult learners. The chapters are written by leading researchers from around the world, all of whom are highly regarded experts on their particular topics.

The book is divided into two sections: learning and instruction. The learning section consists of chapters on how people learn in reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, second languages, and physical education, as well as learning to think critically, learning to self-monitor, and learning with motivation. The instruction section consists of chapters on effective instructional methods – feedback, examples, self-explanation, peer interaction, cooperative learning, inquiry, discussion, tutoring, visualizations, and computer simulations. Each chapter reviews empirical research in a specific domain and is structured as follows:

  • Introduction – Defines key constructs and provides illustrative examples or cases.
  • Historical Overview – Summarizes the historical context for the topic or domain.
  • Theoretical Framework – Summarizes major models or theories related to the topic or domain.
  • Current Trends and Issues – Synthesizes the research literature and highlights key findings or conclusions.
  • Practical Implications – Suggests relevance of the research for educational practice.
  • Future Directions – Considers next steps or stages needed for future research