American Higher Education Transformed, 1940–2005
Documenting the National Discourse
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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The people who transformed American colleges and universities in the half-century after World War II pursued a variety of purposes. Their efforts, documented here, continue a story that, as late as the 1940s, was told in American Higher Education, A Documentary History, edited in 1961 by Richard Hofstadter and Wilson Smith. The scope and magnitude of the changes over the past half-century could easily fill several volumes. What we record in...
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We are grateful to all who helped put together this large volume of documents. In its early stage, three graduate students in the History Department at the University of California, Davis, who later received their doctorates, tracked down sources and, in that age of technological antiquity, used typewriters. The three were Mary Agnes Dougherty, Anita Gentry, and Carolyn Lawes. Later on, Kelly Hopkins...
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The transformation of the postwar American university was so extensive that it resulted in a wholly new institution, qualitatively different from that of the first half of the century. The expansion of higher education after 1945 was transformative, both at the level of individual institutions and the national system as a whole. While research had been a core component of the American university since the...
Part I: The Terrain
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How far did the terrain of higher learning extend in the United States during the second half of the twentieth century? Educational leaders and policymakers asked themselves the harder question of what it ought to encompass. What array of institutions and institutional forms would provide higher learning for a society professedly egalitarian but deeply divided by region, class, race, religion, and...
Part II: Expanding and Reshaping
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The President’s Commission on Higher Education of 1947 not only anticipated a dramatic increase in the number of Americans seeking higher education after the war, it also recognized that that expansion would mean a growing ‘‘diversity of needs and interests’’ among college students. The more compelling parts of the report concerned equal opportunity for higher education: excluding students...
Part III: Liberal Arts
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The liberal arts education derives from the humanist education of the Renaissance, constituting the trivium and the quadrivium, to prepare men for public life. That ideal of liberal learning endured for centuries, and for most of that time the content and even the sequence was fixed, as was its masculinity. In the nineteenth and especially the twentieth century, public life became more inclusive, and so...
Part IV: Graduate Studies
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Between 1940 and 1960, the number of institutions granting Ph.D. degrees doubled, and in the 1960s more new faculty members were hired than had been hired in the first three centuries of higher education in America. This expansion of higher education and particularly the professoriate, driven by the Cold War and prosperity, stalled in the 1970s. Since then—as a result of financial constraint...
Part V: Disciplines and Interdisciplinarity
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The teaching activities of colleges and universities are organized in departments based on disciplines driven by and guided by research agendas. The way disciplines manage intellectual production and reward excellence is thus central not only to the content but also to the administration of universities. Local teaching responsibilities are significantly...
Part VI: Academic Profession
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By the end of the twentieth century, the most important fact about the academic profession in a historical sense was its diversity—of backgrounds, of work environments, and of professional activities (18). The identities of the people who became professors changed in the decades after World War II. The rise of fascism and the advent of war sent hundreds of European academics to the...
Part VII: Conflicts on and Beyond Campus
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While the incorporation of the university into post–World War II society, even to the center of the knowledge society of the postwar years, brought both resources and influence far beyond anything before the war, it also brought trouble. The university became more like the larger society, and it was more likely to be taxed with responsibility for the...
Part VIII: Government, Foundations, Corporations
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The postwar years witnessed the entry of the government as a powerful agent of external influence shaping higher education in the United States. Government thus joined foundations, some of which— Carnegie and Rockefeller—had been active and effective since early in the twentieth century, particularly in promoting innovative research in the...
Part IX: The Courts and Equal Educational Opportunity
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The phrase ‘‘affirmative action’’ came to mean a national effort to overcome past injustices in the lives of women and ethnic minorities, chiefly African Americans, by assuring them of some advantage in employment opportunities and college admissions. The phrase was first used in President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order Number 10925 of March 6, 1961, and was used again in President...
Part X: Academic Freedom
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Academic freedom is at the core of academe. It is, however, a modern and always evolving concept. It emerged with the creation of research universities in nineteenth-century Europe and America that were grounded on the principle, never fully realized, of free inquiry. In the United States this primary idea was formally institutionalized in the ‘‘Statement of Principles’’ written upon the founding of the...
Part XI: Rights of Students
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The medieval university, the lineal antecedent of the modern university, was self-regulating. Like the church, the university was a sanctuary beyond the reach of civil authorities, where there were special courts for faculty and students, just as there were for the clergy. Something of this tradition persisted into modern times, and the civil authorities left...
Part XII: Academic Administration
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Academic leadership is exceptionally complex. Contemporary institutions of higher education are unquestionably hierarchical institutions, yet there is a long history of more democratic institutional governance that cannot be ignored. If corporate styles of management in higher education are increasingly evident, collaboration and participatory decision-making...
A Brief Concordance of Major Subjects
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Page Count: 544
Publication Year: 2008