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Higher Education and the American Dream

Success and Its Discontents

By Marvin Lazerson

Publication Year: 2010

A readable, cogent explanation of how the U.S. can have the best system of higher education in the world, but also a system that seems to be coming apart at the seams.

Published by: Central European University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The publication of this book by Central European University Press is a measure of my admiration for CEU. The University’s goals of intellectual rigor and passionate commitment to democratic societies in a genuinely international environment make it a model of...

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Introduction: Houses, Automobiles, and Higher Education

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pp. 1-9

This is a story of success, unbelievable success, and of the discontents that came with it. Higher education in the United States has been the victim of its own success. As it became the only route to an increasing number of professions and the primary path to economic...

Part I. The Gospel of Getting Ahead

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pp. 11-23

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CHAPTER 1. Building the dream (and worrying about it)

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pp. 13-40

Has higher education become too successful? That’s something of a rhetorical question, given that in the United States Americans like to say, “You can’t argue with success.” Are the expectations for higher education too grandiose? Absolutely, and therein lies one of...

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CHAPTER 2. Higher education as vocational education

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pp. 41-65

For students and their families, it is the most important question. It is also, within limits and with lots of caveats, an answerable question. In terms of should one stay in school, go to college, get a first diploma, and consider continuing on for a post-first degree program...

Part II. Governance and Managerial Dilemmas

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pp. 67-79

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CHAPTER 3. Who governs higher education?

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pp. 69-93

No one really governs higher education. There are, however, lots of stakeholders, and various constituencies with high expectations and desires, who often act as if they were higher education’s rightful governors or, at least, the governors of particular institutions. The...

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CHAPTER 4. Managerial imperatives

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pp. 95-111

Before I became dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in 1987, I gave little thought to managing educational institutions. University managers, it seemed to me, were people who could be more or less helpful and often annoying, especially...

Part III. The Teaching and Learning Conundrum

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pp. 113-125

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CHAPTER 5. Academic disciplines, research imperatives, and undergraduate learning

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pp. 115-145

For America’s professors, the great triumph of the post-World War II era lay in the dominance of the academic disciplines. The disciplines gave faculty intellectual authority as they searched for new knowledge, trained graduate students, and shaped the undergraduate...

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CHAPTER 6. A revolution in teaching and learning?

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pp. 147-184

Let’s face it, there is no large-scale, serious movement to improve the quality of teaching in higher education. The claims that new technology is dramatically altering the way students learn and the ways professors teach are overstated, a cross between naïve and...

Part IV. Making Things Better

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pp. 185-197

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CHAPTER 7. Why is higher education so hard to reform?

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pp. 187-199

Americans’ faith in the power of education to cure everything is all-encompassing. This gospel of education asserts that social, economic, political, and ethical problems can be solved through schooling. Whatever the difficulties and the aspirations—economic development...


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pp. 201-211

Name Index

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pp. 213-214

Subject Index

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pp. 215-221

E-ISBN-13: 9786155211911
Print-ISBN-13: 9789639776791

Page Count: 233
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1st