What is College For?

Educators at all levels–from early childhood through college and university– are contending with rising public anxiety about the cost and value of education. Andrew Delbanco, Director of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and author of College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be?, will speak about the past, present, and future of a distinctive institution that is under growing pressure: the American college.

How well are we doing at helping students become active citizens and fulfilled human beings–and how can we do better? How best to teach in the digital age? How can we know if a college education is effective–and to what end? These are urgent questions that educators must help to frame and to answer; otherwise others will do it for us.

About the speaker

Andrew Delbanco

Andrew Delbanco

Andrew Delbanco is Director of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. Winner of the 2006 Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, and the 2011 National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Delbanco is the author of Melville: His World and Work (2005), which won the Lionel Trilling Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in biography. The Death of Satan (1995), Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now (1997), and The Real American Dream (1999) were named notable books by the editors of The New York Times Book ReviewThe Puritan Ordeal (1989) won the Lionel Trilling Award. He is also the editor of a number of books, including Writing New England (2001), The Portable Abraham Lincoln (1992), and, with Alan Heimert, The Puritans in America (1985).

Additional Resources

Andrew Delbanco’s faculty page

Article about Andrew Delbanco from The Morning News

Interviews with Andrew Delbanco