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Association of American Colleges & Universities Announces 2019 Frederic W. Ness Book Award for The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux

By Cathy N. Davidson
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announces the winner of its Frederic W. Ness Book Award, The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux, published by Basic Books. The Ness Award recognizes the book that best contributes to the understanding and improvement of liberal education. The Ness award will be formally presented to the author, Cathy N. Davidson, at AAC&U’s Annual Meeting [] on January 24, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia. Cathy N. Davidson is Distinguished Professor of English and Founding Director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and the R. F. DeVarney Professor Emerita of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University, where she served as Duke’s (and the nation’s) first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.

“The New Education offers compelling insights into the future of American higher education, emphasizing the need to challenge students to address unscripted, real-world problems. We are thrilled to honor Dr. Davidson with the Ness Book Award and are grateful for her many contributions to the academy,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella.

In The New Education, Cathy N. Davidson reveals that we desperately need a revolution in higher learning if we want our students to succeed in our age of precarious work and technological disruption. Journeying from elite private schools to massive public universities to innovative community colleges, she profiles iconoclastic educators who are remaking their classrooms by emphasizing creativity, collaboration, and adaptability over expertise in a single, often abstract discipline. Working at the margins of the establishment, these innovators are breaking down barriers between ossified fields of study; presenting their students with multidisciplinary, real-world problems; and teaching them not just how to think, but how to learn. The New Education ultimately shows how we can educate students not only to survive but to thrive amid the challenges to come.

“I am deeply honored by the recognition that AAC&U is giving to The New Education and am inspired by the organization and its members for all they contribute to the future of higher education,” said Cathy N. Davidson. “In this time when higher education is under attack and under duress on so many fronts, I am in awe of the many people and institutions who are working to transform higher education in order to prepare the next generation for a complex and challenging future.”

This year’s Ness award winner was selected by a committee of higher education leaders including William Craft (chair), President, Concordia College; Brooke Barnett, Associate Provost for Academic and Inclusive Excellence, Elon University; Alex Johnson, President, Cuyahoga Community College; Robert Pura, President (retired), Greenfield Community College; and Lynn Pasquerella, President, AAC&U.

The Ness Book Award [] was established by AAC&U in 1979 to honor AAC&U President Emeritus Frederic W. Ness. Recent award winners include Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work, by Matthew T. Hora, with Ross J. Benbow and Amanda K. Oleson; The Aims of Higher Education: Problems of Morality and Justice, a collection of essays edited by Harry Brighouse and Michael McPherson; Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters by Michael S. Roth; Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning by José Antonio Bowen; Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession by Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, William Sullivan, and Jonathan R. Dolle; Why Choose the Liberal Arts? by Mark W. Roche; Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education by Peter Sacks; and Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More by Derek Bok.

For more information about The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux, visit [].

For information about the Frederic W. Ness Book Award, visit [].
About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. Information about AAC&U can be found at [].

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Cathy N. Davidson

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