, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 79-89
Date: 22 Dec 2009

The Pursuit of Wisdom: A Modest, but Essential, Prescription for the Future

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Although higher education leaders are occupied with important issues such as accessibility, globalization, funding, and innovation, another issue – moral education – must be addressed if we are to equip students to navigate the future. One need not adhere to a particular religious orthodoxy or propound any sectarian dogma to engage students in the examination of values. The rare context and crucible of heterogeneous and heterodox postsecondary institutions provide an environment in which students, guided by their professors, can learn to wrestle with thorny questions, to maintain their intellectual and moral autonomy, and to take responsibility for their actions.

Since 1991 Steven B. Sample has been the president of the University of Southern California. Immediately prior to this post he was President of the State University of New York at Buffalo for 8 years. He holds the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana, holds several patents, and is a tenured member of the faculty in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. With leadership expert Warren Bennis he co-teaches a course for juniors and seniors at USC entitled “The Art and Adventure of Leadership.” Sample is the author of the best-selling book The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2002).