Dan Schwarz, the Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, recently released a new book on undergraduate education, “How to Succeed in College and Beyond: The Art of Learning.”
In the book, Schwarz reflects on his 48 years of experience as a faculty member at Cornell, his in-depth research and suggestions and comments from university and college students, administrators and faculty. His book is not only a guide for applying to college and getting financial aid, it can also help undergraduate students balance the joy of learning with career preparation and offers a substantive defense of the goals and practices of American universities in the face of “naysayers. “
Schwarz said he is aware of the shortcomings of the American higher education system, but in the book he stresses its successes and provides suggestions on how to negotiate that system. The book includes sections on the process of applying to college, advice for parents, what to stress during each of the four years of college, the pros and cons of the Greek system, the value of a junior year or term abroad, preparing for either graduate school or career and the value of the humanities no matter what the major. Schwarz also gives a professor’s perspective on teaching.
“I wants to stress the positive aspects and the enormous potential of the American college experience and to do so at a time when much has been written of late about the shortcomings of American colleges and universities,” Schwarz said. “Not only are the value of a college education and the economics of colleges and universities under scrutiny, but so too is the concept of the American dream whereby people use their ability and education to fulfill their potentials and move up the socio-economic ladder.
“On the one hand, colleges and universities do have greater diversity in their student bodies and faculty than in the past. But on the other, evidence of severe economic inequality and social injustice dominate the news. Inequality and injustice are causes and effects of a crisis in America that extends to the role of higher education.”
Schwarz has received Cornell’s Russell Distinguished Teaching Award, is the author of 17 books and has edited several others including "Endtimes? Crisis and Turmoil and at the New York Times,"(2012; revised edition, 2014), "Reading the European Novel to 1900,” "Reading Joyce’s Ulysses," “Imagining the Holocaust" and "Reconfiguring Modernism: Explorations in the Relationship Between Modern Art and Modern Literature." His latest book can be found at the Cornell Store.