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Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle


reviewed by John Thelin & Amy E. Wells — 2002

coverTitle: Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle
Author(s): John M. Braxton (ed.)
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville
ISBN: 0826513085, Pages: 264, Year: 2000
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Who says you can’t argue with success? Surely not John Braxton and his contributing authors in Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle. Their anthology reconsiders the influential theory of college student retention advanced by Vincent Tinto in the 1970s. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. However, in academe, scholarly pioneers are also flattered by being subjected to critiques, dissections and revisions. The central issue is whether Tinto’s "interactionalist perspective" – the proposition that "students unable to connect with either the academic or social subsystems of their institution are more likely to leave" – warrants reconsideration. The contributing authors express reasonable doubt that the model is totally satisfactory. If this revisionist anthology were merely a case of several Lilliputian scholars tying down the Gulliver-like Tinto, it could be construed as belated quibbling. However, Editor Braxton is a long respected researcher who has enlisted an impressive cohort of nationally known higher education analysts. Even Vincent Tinto himself joins in the act, both to refine and revise some of his earlier... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 1, 2002, p. 72-75
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10730, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 6:44:50 AM

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About the Author
  • John Thelin
    University of Kentucky
    E-mail Author
    John R.Thelin is Professor of the History of Higher Education & Public Policy at the University of Kentucky. He was President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education in 2000.
  • Amy Wells
    University of Kentucky
    E-mail Author
    Amy E. Wells is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Higher Education & Policy Studies at the University of Kentucky. She was named a Rockefeller Institute Fellow for her research on higher education and regional development in the South.
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