The American University: National Treasure or Endangered Species?

By Ronald G. Ehrenberg | Go to book overview
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The American University:
Dilemmas and Directions

Ronald G. Ehrenberg

AS WE APPROACH the beginning of the twenty-first century, America's research universities are among the jewels of our higher educational system. By far the vast majority of Nobel Prize winners were educated or teach at them, and their excellence attracts graduate students from around the world. Indeed, in 1993, temporary residents earned about 25 percent of all the doctoral degrees granted by American universities. In key scientific and engineering fields, the percentages were much higher. For example, that year, temporary residents received 49 percent of the doctorates in engineering and 43 percent in the mathematical and computer sciences. 1 One noted economist/academic administrator has even asserted that of the best universities in the world, two-thirds to three-quarters are in the United States. He added that similar claims of achievement could be made for very few other sectors of our economy. 2

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1
National Science Foundation, CASPAR Database System, vers. 4.5, Oct. 1995.
2
Henry Rosovsky, The University: An Owner's Manual ( New York: Norton, 1990), chap. 2.

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