Those who wish to actively and productively participate in the discussion are strongly encouraged to review the recommended film and reading materials, as the insights, arguments, and reported evidence contained within will be used for structuring and contextualizing our collective-thought exercise.

Documentaries about the current state of the U.S. higher education system

Is college worth the cost? Ivory Tower explores the current education crisis from the halls of Harvard, to community colleges, to online  learning, providing an astonishing look at the American university landscape (Rental available on Amazon Prime).

The documentary delves into the key, decision-making seats  where money and politics intermingle, and reveals the deep  cultural divide between a lucrative Anglo-Saxon model of funding  and the universal independent European model. The film documents the emergence of a new class of over-educated and over-indebted workers and poses some very inconvenient questions. Who really benefits from this heightened competition? Just how much debt should students take on? What is the real price for our societies? (Available on Kanopy for UH Mānoa and Kapiʻolani CC users).


Essential reading sources

Henry Giroux: Critical pedagogy in dark times

Supplementary reading materials

Helpful books on higher education

Riley, T. (2006). The Universitas Project: Solutions for a post-technological society. The Museum of Modern Art.

Ginsberg, B. (2011). The fall of the faculty. Oxford University Press.

Samuels, R. (2013). Why public higher education should be free: How to decrease cost and increase quality at American universities. Rutgers University Press.

Smyth, J. (2017). The toxic university: zombie leadership, academic rock stars, and neoliberal ideology. Palgrave Macmillan.

Creasy, R. (2017). The taming of education: evaluating contemporary approaches to learning and teaching. Springer.

Furedi, F. (2016). What’s happened to the university?: A sociological exploration of its infantilisation. Routledge.

Lampert, K. (2012). Meritocratic education and social worthlessness. Springer.

Mind map of global civilizational collapse: Why nothing is happening in response to global challenges

Source: Two-D projection: Exemplifying the nature of cognitive flatland (UAI, Anthony Judge 2011)

Readings shared by event participants

Losing ourselves: How and where it happens

A student-directed documentary about how an expectation for perfection and a status-driven definition of success undermines students’ love of learning and creativity, gets in the way of our ability to use school as an opportunity to figure out what we love and who we are, and turns our intrinsic motivation extrinsic.