Higher Education in American Society

Higher Education in American Society

Higher Education in American Society

Higher Education in American Society

Excerpt

Patricia J. Gumpcirt,Philip G. Altbach, andRobert O. Berdahl

As in the first two editions of this volume, the third edition of Higher Education in American Society seeks to capture several critical dynamics in the higher education/ society nexus. Since the second edition, many aspects of the relationship between colleges and universities and their external environments have pined increased visibility -- if not outright scrutiny -- in the media. The topics have included such heated issues as demands for multiculturalism in the curriculum, scrutiny of racially-based undergraduate admissions quotas, attempts to control violence and hate crimes on campus, graduate student teaching assistants going on strike, increased prominence of university-industry partnerships and technology transfer activities, occasional allegations of scientific misconduct/ fraud, the alleged mis-management of indirect cost funds, and most recently dramatic consequences from massive budget cuts brought about by a national economic downturn and often accompanied by explicit "downsizing" mandates from state legislatures.

In a system of higher education that is as large and decentralized as that of the United States, it is difficult to do a comprehensive analysis of the cumulative record of twentieth century strains and transitions, let alone to reassess priorities in order to survive and prosper in the future. However, as a preliminary step in this direction, the third edition of this volume retains and extends what we, as editors, believe to be a major theme: There is much analytical utility in examining the affairs of colleges and universities within their changing social contexts. Accordingly, the editors and the authors share a common view of colleges and universities as social institutions that are embedded in the wider society and in various ways subject to its constraining social forces.

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