The role of undergraduates as future public intellectuals

July 4, 2016

While much has been written about the need for professors to write for a non-academic audience, less attention has been given to the topic of teaching undergraduates to do the same, write Sarah Madsen Hardy and Marisa Milanese for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The authors explain that the greatest challenge in this effort is teaching students to produce “academic arguments for audiences who are intellectually ambitious but expect accessible prose and an immediate sense of the argument’s relevance to their lives.” However, the authors also note that readers should approach these efforts with some skepticism, as they may have the unintended consequence of making scholarly writing seem inconsequential compared to the “real world” value of more accessible writing. Chronicle of Higher Education