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HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE EIGHTIES: A REVIEW SYMPOSIUM Recent publication of two volumes by authors centrally identified with higher education as a field of study provides a good opportunity to conduct a "review symposium" as a feature of the first issue of the RHE in a new decade— the 1980's. Appropriately, the volumes concern important trends in higher education which threaten the survival of our colleges over the next decade. Three reviewers were selected to independently review these volumes (and important related literature) from what was assumed would be different perspectives. Their essays presented here do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the members and officers of the Association for the Study of Higher Education. The volumes under direct review are: Lewis B. Mayhew, Surviving the Eighties'. Strategies and Procedures for Solving Fiscal and Enrollment Problems, San Francisco: JosseyBass , Inc. , Publishers, 1979, 350 pp. , $13.95. Kenneth P. Mortimer and Michael L. Tierney, The Three ''R's* 1 ' of the Eighties: Reduction, Reallocation and Retrenchment, AAHE/ERIC Higher Education Research Report #4, Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education, 1979, 84 pp. , $4.00. COPING WITH THE EIGHTIES Joseph F. Kauffman University of Wisconsin— Madison For a variety of reasons, not all of which are sensible, we tend to label decades. Pundits, looking back, labelled the 1950's as the "silent fifties," as compared with the "activist" sixties. Both decades have symbols which can be recalled for instant nostalgia, increasingly exploited by the media in TV series or magazine retrospectives. Rock and roll music, "Happy Days" and "American Graffiti” recapture the stereotypes of the fifties. Pro­ tests and demonstrations and anti-establishment slogans portray the sixties. I leave it to the reader to ponder how one will elicit nostalgia for the stereotypes of the seventies. After all, the cultural emphasis of the seven­ ties consisted of waves of nostalgia for the fifties and sixties. Trying to portray decades in a slogan or snapshot is a challenge. I re­ member the fifties as a period of enormous growth and change in higher educa­ tion as we stiffened our backs to meet the "impending tidal wave" of stu­ dents. It was a great challenge as critics warned us that "more was less"; quality could not be maintained with rapid growth. The sixties are filled with many and contradictory memories for me. I experienced the heady atmosphere of the "new frontier" as one of the original staff of the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. America would show the develop­ ing world the idealism and ability of its youth. In the latter sixties, as Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, I faced angry mobs, hatred for our government, and nihilism I could not have imagined in 1961. All of this is my way of saying that labeling decades is cute but it's more complex than that. The ascription often comes from the eye of the be­ holder and is certainly an oversimplification no matter how keen the obser­ ver. I don't know how to characterize the seventies, as far as higher educa­ tion is concerned. As for the eighties, they will continue the trend of the seventies: uncertain, changing, and turbulent. They will see a decline in the traditional college-age population (in part a result of the social revolution of the sixties). Will we survive the eighties? That depends upon 2 many factors, of course, but most colleges and universities will learn to cope with the changes, as we have before. Some Darwinian aspects are impli­ cit, however, and some institutions may not cope sufficiently well with the changes to survive the decade. The two volumes under review deal with the decade upon us and the stra­ tegies, techniques and procedures for coping with the current realities of change. If we need to raise our consciousness about decline and survival, these volumes certainly help to do that. While offering no cure-all pre­ scriptions, they both suggest ways of coping that are instructive. They are worth reading. Americans also seem to enjoy speculating about the future. There have been numerous publications since the end of World War II attempting to por­ tray future conditions...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1090-7009
Print ISSN
0162-5748
Pages
pp. 1-5
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-01
Open Access
No
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