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Higher Education in America: 1636-1944

Higher Education in America: 1636-1944

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Higher Education in America: 1636-1944

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  1. Higher Education in America: 1636-1944 Emergence of the American University Trustin Clear ISyE 8803 Spring 2011

  2. This outline is adapted from Arthur Cohen’s The Shaping of American Higher Education: Emergence and Growth of the Contemporary System • Following Cohen’s scheme, the discussion is organized chronologically by era, and topically within eras, addressing Societal Context, Institutions, Students, Faculty, Curriculum, Governance, Finance, and Outcomes Organizational Framework

  3. Establishing the Collegiate Form in the Colonies: 1636-1789 Following Old World Models

  4. Immigrants came to the New World for a variety of reasons, including the desire for religious freedom, commercial success, and access to land • Socially and culturally, the colonies were decidedly English, and religion was central to colony life • The abundance of land and openness of opportunity led to optimism and the coexistence of many diverse social and religious groups Societal Context

  5. Nine colleges were organized in the colonies during this period, modeled on European educational forms • Curriculum and faculty-student relations drawn primarily from the example of church-related institutions • Colonial institutions adopted lay governing boards from Scottish universities, and the curriculum and residential pattern from Cambridge • Emphasis on preparing ministers and civil servants, not professional education Institutions

  6. Few young people in the American colonies went to college, and few careers required it • Colleges were designed to teach discipline, morals, and character, and to take charge of pupils’ lives • Admissions requirements included Latin and Greek, limiting the student population • Enduring patterns of student life, including residency requirements, developed during this period Students

  7. Too few faculty to form a critical mass of like-minded colleagues • Institutions employed a combination of tutors and professors, with teaching slow to develop as a profession • Tutors and professors were expected to accept low wages in exchange for the prestige of institutional affiliation, a pattern that would persist Faculty

  8. Curriculum was designed to be practical, but the definition of practicality changes from era to era • All students were required to take a standard set of courses • Curriculum in the colonial colleges was imported from Europe with little modification • As the era progressed, programs of study began to incorporate science and political philosophy, with more emphasis on deductive reasoning Curriculum

  9. Instruction based on the authority of classic texts was prevalent throughout the era, but clashed with the adoption of empirical methods • Instruction in Latin and Greek gave way to instruction in English as pedagogy based on experiments and experimental evidence became prominent • The basis of instruction shifted from church doctrine to secular humanism to empiricism, with each orientation justified as practical in its time Instruction

  10. Colleges founded with a combination of public and private control • Institutions overseen by boards or clergymen or magistrates, who appointed a president responsible for day-to-day administration • Board members were often representatives of organized religion, but institutions emphasized interdenominational freedom • As the era progressed, religious influence was replaced by that of businessmen and politicians • Even with this change, faculty never gained more than token representation on institutional boards Governance

  11. Institutions depended on funding from a variety of sources, including voluntary contributions and governmental bodies • Governments donated land, granted tax advantages, and legislated appropriations • Church groups, private donors, and subscribers provided additional means of support • Tuition and fees were secondary, but necessary for institutions to survive • Colleges in this era were not well endowed, leading to the continuous search for new sources of funding Finance

  12. Very few graduates were produced during this era, but institutions had a broader impact • Many graduates became influential in the ministry and public service; others had to be flexible in applying the knowledge they gained • College attendance enhanced individual mobility, and played a role in acculturating students • Institutions were concerned primarily with the preservation of knowledge, not its advancement • Institutions conferred prestige on graduates and on host communities Outcomes

  13. The Diffusion of Small Colleges in the Emergent Nation: 1790-1869 Proliferating Institutions and Expanding Access

  14. The United States rapidly acquired territory after its establishment, with large numbers of immigrants arriving to take advantage of new opportunities • Church membership increased during this period, with many denominations migrating west and establishing colleges • Growing tension between north and south and calls for social reform, especially the abolition of slavery, dominated the era Societal Context

  15. Hundreds of colleges were formed during this era, driven by diffusion of the population, the proliferation of religious denominations, and a general feeling of expansiveness • A lack of regulations made it easy to establish colleges, and the lack of federal educational oversight encouraged the development of a free and open educational market • The proliferation of institutions kept enrollments small and made survival difficult • As interest in science education increased, German universities became models for the college system, but research activities remained limited Institutions

  16. The student base broadened during this era, dramatically increasing in size and beginning to include women and minorities • Enrollment did not keep pace with the population, and colleges faced competition for adequately prepared students • College residential life developed with the proliferation of student societies and the inclusion of women, but segments of the population remained systematically excluded Students

  17. Professionalization of faculty progressed rapidly at the beginning of the emergent nation era, marked by the emergence of professorship as a worthy career goal • American college graduates who received additional training in Germany influenced thought on faculty roles in research • Throughout the era, most faculty held outside jobs, due to inadequate college salaries • As faculty members specialized, loyalty to academic disciplines began to supplant loyalty to institutions Faculty

  18. Varied, vocational curricula began to emerge, but not without tension between classical and practical studies • The Yale report of 1828 provided a rationale for retaining classical studies without recourse to religion as a motivating factor • Electives and separate curricular tracks were introduced, but met resistance from traditionalists • Programs often included classical learning in parallel with new offerings • Appeals to the authority of classical sources began to give way to lecture and laboratory instruction, with performance evaluated through written examinations Curriculum

  19. The pattern of governance under a nonacademic board of trustees continued in the emergent nation era, both for private and for public colleges • These patterns were well established before the faculty became a self-conscious professional group, limiting the faculty role in institutional management • As the era progressed, clergymen were replaced by mercantile and professional people on boards of trustees, and public institutions often limited the participation of religious figures Governance

  20. As with governance, financing of colleges followed the patterns established in the colonial era • Colleges relied on private donors and fundraising, with tuition remaining a secondary source of financial support • Governments continued to support institutions by giving tax advantages, land grants, and legislative appropriations • Most institutions had insufficient funds, with de facto support often provided by staff who received little if any compensation Finance

  21. Outcomes were similar to those in the colonial era, but new effects emerged as well, primarily preparation for emergent professions • Religious revivalism helped spur the establishment of many new colleges, but retarded the adoption of scientific thinking • Institutions dedicated to training engineers emerged during this period, led by the U.S. Military Academy and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute • By the end of the era, research was growing in importance at leading institutions, but this process was slow to develop Outcomes

  22. University Transformation as the Nation Industrializes: 1870-1944 Emergence of the Research University

  23. Industrialization was critical in promoting the changes observed in the university transformation era • Secondary schools enabled growing enrollment by preparing large numbers of people for college • Higher education grew in practical importance as wealth accumulated and institutions attained a size that allowed specialization • Establishment of a national income tax in 1913 led to the growth of philanthropic foundations, which became important in supporting research and education Societal Context

  24. The defining institutional development of this era was the emergence of the university, which combined an undergraduate college with professional schools, graduate departments, and service components • The transformation of colleges into universities reflected the influence of higher education in Germany • The rapid growth of universities was enabled by public funding through the Morrill Act of 1862, as well as by private fortunes amassed in industry • Imitation and competition among universities led to the pursuit of new disciplines and the incorporation of specialized facilities Institutions

  25. The percentage of young people entering college increased as education came to be seen as a means of improving social standing, and as occupational groups began to demand college education for their members • Demand for enrollment at leading institutions exceeded capacity, leading to expanded admissions requirements and standardized admissions testing • Residential student life evolved with the growth of intercollegiate athletics and student social networks Students

  26. Faculty roles evolved during the university transformation era through differentiation into faculty ranks, formation of disciplinary departments, and the expansion of academic freedom • Concepts of tenure and sabbatical leave developed as faculty members became more organized and influential • Faculty gained control over department personnel decisions and curricula, but remained underpaid relative to the training required by their positions Faculty

  27. Options for study increased tremendously as departments and faculties grew • Implicit in this change was recognition that the university’s mission was career preparation, organized research, and gaining prestige, not teaching common knowledge or values • Methods of instruction evolved with the growth of enrollment and study options, marked by standardized examinations, the introduction of letter grades, and the influence of philanthropic foundations Curriculum

  28. Institutional governance in the university transformation era continued the trend toward secularism • Governance structures shifted in the direction of administrative hierarchies and bureaucratic management systems • The emerging system relied on voluntary agreements, imitation, and competition, rather than legislation Governance

  29. Institutions continued to be supported by a combination of private donations and tuition • Large private endowments helped new universities support a broad range of activities, and philanthropic foundations encouraged the adoption of higher standards through conditional grants • State support of both public and private institutions continued, but was highly dependent on economic conditions • Federal support extended beyond the Morrill Acts, helping institutions survive the difficulties of the great depression Finance

  30. The growth of universities resulted in new outcomes for higher education • Emerging universities supported rapid growth in natural science research, and later in agricultural and mechanical areas as well • University education prepared individuals for service in newly reorganized professions, and contributed to the prestige of those professions • Universities became engines of economic growth as increased funding indirectly benefited communities Outcomes