For many, the academy has historically represented privilege and intellectual exclusion; for others it has represented an increasingly contested site, as marginalized populations have challenged the myth of the ivory tower being a haven of meritocracy and equal opportunities. Still others persist in viewing universities as a level playing field, a place where people are judged primarily by their ideas and intellectual contributions. Ironically, alongside these charged conversations of exclusivity, privilege, and opportunity has occurred the seduction of the ivory tower by market interests, sacrificing standards in the interests of ill-defined efficiency. Much has been written on the increasingly market-driven culture of higher education; many have called this commodification and instrumentalization the most dangerous ideology of the current historical moment. Yet, within this landscape, there have been scholars willing to make space to critically interrogate higher education in relation to multiple systems of oppression. They are working to introduce new perspectives, nurturing counter-hegemonic knowledges.
Many have struggled to cocreate and sustain democratic spheres that decenter dominant interests, with the aim of a more equitable society. They have been part of a larger movement of academic warriors, academics with consciences who live out their commitments by subscribing to the notion that scholarship and activism are inextricably intertwined. This volume embodies their narratives and issues an open invitation. This is 139th volume of this Jossey-Bass quarterly report series. Noted for its depth of coverage, it explores issues of common interest to instructors, administrators, counselors, and policymakers in a broad range of adult and continuing education settings, such as colleges and universities, extension programs, businesses, libraries, and museums.