Generation on a Tightrope

A Portrait of Today's College Student

by Arthur Levine , Diane R. Dean

Number of pages: 256

Publisher: Jossey-Bass

BBB Library: Education

ISBN: 9780470376294

About the Authors

Arthur Levine : Levine is president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Previously,


Diane R. Dean : She is associate professor of higher education policy and administration at


Editorial Review

Today’s college students are struggling to maintain their balance as they attempt to cross the gulf between their dreams and the diminished realities of the world in which they live. They are seeking security but live in an age of profound and unceasing change.  This is a generation that thinks of itself as global citizens but knows little about the world and acts locally. It is the most diverse generation in collegiate history with the strongest relationships between races but they have limited interest in talking about race or reaching across political or generational divides.

Book Reviews

"Arthur Levine has been exploring the psyche of college students, a quest that has led to three books on different generations’ behaviors and beliefs. The latest, “Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student,” written with Diane R. Dean, covers 2006 to 2011, distilling information from surveys and interviews with both undergraduates and student-affairs officials at 31 campuses nationwide." - The New York Times

"The authors skillfully place global and national events in the context of contemporary students’ lives and how these events have shaped students’ views and preferences." - Project Muse

"Arthur Levine and Diane R. Dean is not written specifically for college parents, however, if you want to read a book that will force you to look at your college-aged student differently; this is one of those books." - College Parent Central

"Authors Arthur Levine and Diane Dean, the president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and a professor of education at Illinois State University respectively, compiled research taken from national surveys of students and site visits to 31 campuses across the United States. For California in particular, Dean and Levine’s research stretched to the coast of UC Santa Barbara, the San Diego Community College District, Pepperdine in Malibu and Mount St. Mary in Los Angeles, ranging from private, selective, to broader accessibility." - The California Aggie

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Wisdom to Share

This generation of college students is no better and no worse than other generations but, like every generation before, they are different and will live in a world demanding a different set of skills and knowledge to thrive.

As a result, this generation requires a different brand of education that will enable them to attain their personal dreams and to serve the society they must lead.

Students need the ability to think out of the box, to find innovative solutions to looming problems in a shifting environment, and to develop new rules to guide the future

Multiculturalism, or what is called diversity, has been on the higher education agenda for almost half a century.

Globalization is a far newer issue for colleges and universities, yet all or nearly all of these institutions are making their campuses more international, even two-year colleges where the focus is more on the local community.

If history is a guide, most universities will continue to make gradual changes toward internationalization.

The education being proposed needs to go beyond the formal curriculum. It should infuse all aspects of collegiate life.

In the years to come, our educational system, employers, parents, and government will be judged by their success in enabling today’s undergraduates to live, work, and lead in a diverse, global, digital, information economy in motion.