Journal of Critical Issues in Educational Practice


striving, socials, higher education, critical theory


Striving has become a word laden with problematic meanings in the world of higher education. For instance, if a university is too aligned with business, or becomes overly selective, or deviates from original purpose or mission, then, at times, those actions are seen as striving (O’Meara, 2007). O’Meara (2007) defines striving as participation in efforts to improve status and prestige in line with the hierarchy. Allen (2021) echoes the problematic nature of this practice witnessed abroad, equating striving educational practices with neoliberalism, potentially overshadowing primary purposes of the institution, such as learning and teaching, or drowning out important parts of institutional culture, such as integrity and equity. It is an odd and problematic paradox, that as the institution strives to appear ranked higher, it, in fact, downgrades its connection to its mission and values. The practice of striving as an area of concern in higher education can be traced back to the California Master Plan (California State Department of Education, 1960), and the inception of higher education in the United States and abroad (Rudolph, 1990). Part of what can be problematic about striving is this - as an higher education strives for more status, it can leave behind those it purports to serve, thereby limiting the diversity of ideas, cultures and identities within the institution.

Author Statement

Jessica Block Nerren Ed.D. is a full-time faculty member at CSU San Bernardino with interests in educational leadership, communication and disability studies.