Risk-Taking in Higher Education: The Importance of Negotiating Intellectual Challenge in the College Classroom

Bridget Bunten (Education) & Ryan Kelty (Sociology)

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (2017)


“Opinions abound as to what ails higher education and the way to improve our colleges and universities. This volume begins from the perspective that intellectual risk-taking is central to a transformational education, and should be a central value, not just an added benefit, to an educational experience which can all too often be motivated by performance metrics alone. Authored by those on the front lines of today’s college classrooms, the essays in these pages demonstrate that the most effective change will happen classroom-by-classroom, professor-by-professor, student-by-student. As a result, citizens working for the public good, and not just credentialed individuals, will graduate from our campuses. And if we, too, take the risks encouraged in these pages, our students will be energetic, resilient, and thoughtful throughout their creative lives.” - Laurie L. Patton (President, Middlebury College)

“The strengths of this volume are its practicality, interdisciplinary scope, timeliness, and frankly, its breakthrough spirit on what to do rather than what not to do. Kelty and Bunten’s argument to emphasize risk-taking in higher education challenges students and professors to be their best selves, reclaiming higher education as a place to grapple with the myriad challenges of the human condition. New and seasoned professors and administrators alike - indeed anyone interested in higher education - will find inspiration in this volume.” -Morten Ender (Professor of Sociology, West Point)

“This is a timely, provocative, and much needed book. In an atmosphere of heightened sensitivities, polarized politics, outcomes assessment, and litigiousness, faculty may fear at risk but discouraged to take risks. But teaching is not following a recipe; it requires risks. The articles in this volume explore the intellectual, social, and pedagogical risk-taking that creative teaching requires. It celebrates the adventure of teaching that makes learning vital for students” - Daniel R. DeNicola (Professor of Philosophy at Gettysburg College, Author of Learning to Flourish: A Philosophical Exploration of Liberal Education)