Chester, Pa.—Today’s colleges and universities are balancing the needs of students who want a return on their college investment, employers who want graduates who can adapt to ever-changing workplaces, and a greater mission to enable students to develop the knowledge and abilities to lead lives of significance and contribute to society. In a new book, “The Power of Integrated Learning,” author William Sullivan writes about how a select group of institutions, including Widener University, is accomplishing these goals.

Drawing on examples from the 25 members of The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), of which Widener is a member, the book makes the case for an approach that combines the strengths of the liberal arts, professional studies and civic responsibility in order to give students the combination of skills and experience that will prepare them for success in all aspects of life after graduation.

The book, which was published by Stylus Publishing in July, includes profiles of four Widener initiatives that are successfully balancing the needs of students and employers while preparing students to be civic leaders. The four Widener initiatives include:

•           Widener’s ground-breaking clinics which provide the community with services for either medical or mental health issues at a reduced rate.

•           The university’s interdisciplinary research into the cost of higher education and student debt and efforts to lobby in Harrisburg for support of financial aid.

•           An award-winning initiative by communication studies and English students to produce a high-quality magazine promoting the city of Chester. 

•           Widener’s unique doctoral program in nursing which is focused on the science of nursing education. The program has earned the School of Nursing recognition as a Center of Excellence by the National League of Nursing.

“As I conducted research for the book, I found that these campuses, although geographically and otherwise diverse, placed significant value on programs and learning practices that fostered growth in both critical and analytical skills found in liberal arts education while allowing students to explore real-world preparation in their chosen fields,” said Sullivan. “Perhaps most importantly, this model was delivered in a way that emphasized civic engagement and finding one’s place in society.”

“The Power of Integrated Learning: Higher Education for Success in Life, Work, and Society” is available in paperback for $25 and in e-book formats for $19.99. It is available for order through Stylus Publishingor through Amazon.

Founded in 1995, The New American Colleges and Universities is a national consortium of selective, small to mid-size (2,000-7,500 students) independent colleges and universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies, and civic engagement. To improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning among its members, The New American Colleges and Universities sponsors projects and conferences, administrator and faculty affinity groups, surveys and data benchmarking, and international study programs. The New American Colleges and Universities collectively and individually are often cited as models of the intentional integration of teaching and learning, scholarship, and service. Follow them on Twitter @NACandU.