The Clark Kerr Lectures On the Role of Higher Education in Society

Published by: University of California Press

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The Clark Kerr Lectures On the Role of Higher Education in Society

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The American Research University from World War II to World Wide Web

Governments, the Private Sector, and the Emerging Meta-University

Charles M. Vest

Forty years after Clark Kerr coined the term multiversity, the American research university has continued to evolve into a complex force for social and economic good. This volume provides a unique opportunity to explore the current state of the research university system. Charles M. Vest, one of the leading advocates for autonomy for American higher education, offers a multifaceted view of the university at the beginning of a new century. With a complex mission and funding structure, the university finds its international openness challenged by new security concerns and its ability to contribute to worldwide opportunity through sharing and collaboration dramatically expanded by the Internet. In particular, Vest addresses the need to nurture broad access to our universities and stay true to the fundamental mission of creating opportunity.

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Dynamics of the Contemporary University

Growth, Accretion, and Conflict

Neil J. Smelser

This book is an expanded version of the Clark Kerr Lectures of 2012, delivered by Neil Smelser at the University of California at Berkeley in January and February of that year. The initial exposition is of a theory of change—labeled structural accretion—that has characterized the history of American higher education, mainly (but not exclusively) of universities. The essence of the theory is that institutions of higher education progressively add functions, structures, and constituencies as they grow, but seldom shed them, yielding increasingly complex structures. The first two lectures trace the multiple ramifications of this principle into other arenas, including the essence of complexity in the academic setting, the solidification of academic disciplines and departments, changes in faculty roles and the academic community, the growth of political constituencies, academic administration and governance, and academic stratification by prestige. In closing, Smelser analyzes a number of contemporary trends and problems that are superimposed on the already-complex structures of higher education, such as the diminishing public support without alterations of governance and accountability, the increasing pattern of commercialization in higher education, the growth of distance-learning and for-profit institutions, and the spectacular growth of temporary and part-time faculty.

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Searching for Utopia

Universities and Their Histories

Hanna Holborn Gray

In Searching for Utopia, Hanna Holborn Gray reflects on the nature of the university from the perspective of today’s research institutions. In particular, she examines the ideas of former University of California president Clark Kerr as expressed in The Uses of the University, written during the tumultuous 1960s. She contrasts Kerr’s vision of the research-driven "multiveristy" with the traditional liberal educational philosophy espoused by Kerr’s contemporary, former University of Chicago president Robert Maynard Hutchins. Gray’s insightful analysis shows that both Kerr, widely considered a realist, and Hutchins, seen as an oppositional idealist, were utopians. She then surveys the liberal arts tradition and the current state of liberal learning in the undergraduate curriculum within research universities. As Gray reflects on major trends and debates since the 1960s, she illuminates the continuum of utopian thinking about higher education over time, revealing how it applies even in today’s climate of challenge.

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