The Meaning of Higher Education and Schooling for our Humanity


There are vastly different perspectives when it comes to the mission of higher education. Ouchi (2003) asserts that the way to successful school transformation is found in “good data from standardized tests” (p. 139). Wolk, however, decries our current system and its focus on testing arguing that we are preparing robots and workers, not human beings. Wolk (2007) demands that “We must deeply question the schools and the curricula we have; we must ask what it means to be educated and what it means to be human” (p. 650). We need to go much further than university being a place to memorize facts and situate a school’s mission in terms of preparing students to live responsibility and able to work toward the common good for all. This paper will focus primarily on education making a social difference. The aim will be on the type of people we are educating. What is more important to the health of a democracy than educating caring citizens who will make a difference socially? Interestingly, Wolk (2007) asserts that “It certainly seems that the more ‘civilized’ we become as a species, the more brutal we become as people. What does the 21st century hold in store for us? Will we survive? What are schools doing to improve our chances?” (p. 653). This presentation will approach higher education from a multidisciplinary perspective with these questions in mind.


Social Change


2019 Special Focus: "Learning to Make a Social Difference"


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Dr. Dene Williamson
    • Assistant Professor, Sport Business, Saint Leo University, United States Florida, United States
    • Dene Williamson is assistant professor of Sport Business at Saint Leo University. Her teaching and research focus on athletic venues and education.
  • Jessica Mabry
    • Clinical Instructor, University of South Florida, United States United States
  • Dr. Randall Woodard
    • Chair, Associate Professor, Philosophy, Theology, and Religion, United States FL, United States
  • Dr. Patrick Ryan Murphy
    • Assistant Professor, Economics, Saint Leo University, United States Florida, United States
    • Dr. Patrick Ryan Murphy is an Associate Professor of Economics in the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance in the Donald R. Tapia School of Business at Saint Leo University. His professional and research interests include Economics of Education, Public Economics, Applied Economics, Urban/Regional Economics, Population Economics, Game Theory and Econometrics. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Florida State University.