Examining undergraduate education from the point of view of a philosopher of communication, Ronald C. Arnett takes a positive view of higher education during a time when education is being assailed as seldom before. Arnett responds to this criticism with convincing support of the academy reinforced by his personal experiences as well as those of others scholars and teachers.
Arnett's book is an invitation to converse about higher education as well as a reminder of the potential for dialogue between teacher and student, dialogue that the author defines as a "willingness to enter conversation about ideas," to maintain relationships through differences, and to ask value questions. Arnett see education as more than the dispensing of information. He emphasizes the importance of character development as well as the the development of relationships between students and teachers. Arnett stresses the importance of honesty and integrity in students, teachers, and administrators, and he insists that education should focus more on the good of the entire school than on the individual. Arnett does not offer this book as the truth about education nor as a "how to teach" manual. Rather, he regards it as an attempt to understand education from a communication perspective and as a reminder of the positive and constructive aspects of teaching. The book is based on Arnett's belief that educators who care about ideas and people not only improve education but also benefit the community.