Many would-be college reformers, says my guest Chris Gallagher, talk about “unbundling”. By this they mean breaking a college into parts to save on costs and increase efficiency. In reality, Gallagher argues, colleges are already far too unbundled; or, perhaps, dis-integrated. What we need he argues are integrated colleges, ones which are coherently designed so that all of their parts fit together and support one another. The ideal result would be an institution that supports a life-long experience, an experience that would necessarily be greater than the sum of its parts. Like our previous guest David Staley, he suggests some audacious reforms; but many of these can be begun by professors at every stage of their career. We discuss these, the first steps that even an assistant professor can take towards making things better.
Chris Gallagher is the Vice Chancellor for Global Learning Opportunities and Professor of English at Northeastern University in Boston. He’s taught writing at every level of the college curriculum at Northeastern and elsewhere. The focus of our conversation is his most recent book, College Made Whole: Integrative Learning for a Divided World, now available from Johns Hopkins University Press.