Edward L. Ayers


The flagship institutions in our public systems of higher education play a crucial role in our civic culture, demonstrating that "public" and "excellent" need not be mutually exclusive. In many states, however, students and their parents believe that their flagship university is beyond their financial and academic reach. The rhetoric about "excellence" and "selectivity" is understood to mean "exclusivity." And there is truth to that suspicion. The drive to excellence may be preventing some of our best public institutions from fulfilling their public role.

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Copyright © 2005 The Chronicle of Higher Education. This article first appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education 51:33 (2005), B12.

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