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Between the acropolis and the agora

Tom P. Abeles (Editor of On the Horizon.)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 28 September 2010




Post‐secondary institutions are undergoing change. This review aims to look at how the changes are being addressed in Europe and the USA.


Two books are reviewed. One looks at the change through the efforts of the Spellings Commission in the USA while the other, a study of the European Bologna Process, holds the hope that there might be lessons for the USA's traditional colleges and universities.


Both of the authors are concerned with the current and future state of post‐secondary education in the USA. Gaston defines the rise and the current state of the Bologna Process of harmonization of universities across the EU's borders. He also indicates that the USA's global hegemonic reputation may not hold in the future. Zemsky's study focuses on the Spellings Commission study and sees post‐secondary education as the center point of knowledge, needing some change, but not so off course that it needs to follow the path of homogenization which the USA sees as being taken in Europe. The paper also reveals how the US public institutions, the public itself and the government need to resolve the need for centers of academic and research excellence while addressing the social needs of an increasingly diverse population in a time of limited fiscal resources.

Social implications

The rising technological demands of a flattening world raise the educational need of the workforce taking it from K‐12 to K‐14+ and removing the bright line that has separated the tertiary institutions from the secondary schools. Additionally, global mobility changes the marketplace, particularly at the undergraduate levels and the role of the academics who labor in the Ivory Tower.


The paper reveals information on the influence of the Bologna Process and the Spellings Commission in educational reform.



Abeles, T.P. (2010), "Between the acropolis and the agora", On the Horizon, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 364-369.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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