US Higher Ed History 2

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U.S. Higher Education: 

U.S. Higher Education A brief dot point history prepared by: Michael E. McManus Executive Dean Faculty of Biological & Chemical Sciences University of Queensland Australia


AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION 1636: Harvard College established. Modelled on the Oxford and Cambridge design, except governance by a Board. 1862: Morrill Lang Grant Act saw the entry of the Federal Government into Higher Education by the creation land-grant colleges. Yale offers the first Ph.D. in 1863. 1876: Johns Hopkins University founded. Modelled on German universities’ ideals of advanced scholarship and Ph.D. programs. 1860–1890: sees the change from “college” to “university”. 1898–1909: commitment to doctoral programs was uneven – Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Yale, Johns Hopkins and Cornell confer ~200 Ph.D.’s in little more than a decade.


AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION The first American universities were training grounds more for clergy than industry. The Morrill Act specifically instructed land-grant universities to teach “agriculture and the mechanical arts… in order to promote liberal and practical education of the industrial classes. Expansion of universities after the Civil War depended heavily on wealthy patrons like Ezra Cornell, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins and John D. Rockefeller. During World War I, interactions between university scientist and government agencies occurred off campus: Researches contributing to the war effort were inducted into service and assigned to federal laboratories.


AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION World War II – Physical science academics become involved in defence-related research and development, including the atomic- and hydrogen-bomb projects. 1945–1970: Move to mass education (1950: 2.7 million students; 1960: 3.6 million; 1970: 7.9 million). Post 1945 sees the emergence of the so-called research university as a powerful new entity. 1944 - GI Bill leads to > 1 million being enrolled by 1946 and $5.5 billion in benefits. 1945 Vannevar Bush’s report “Science, the Endless Frontier” leads to the creation of the National Science Foundation in 1950 and the enhancement of the National Institutes of Health – the federal government became a research patron and contractor.


AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION Federal research funding levels off in the late 1950s. The Cold War provided a catalyst for unprecedented public support for higher education. This extended beyond science and into the humanities. 1957 – Soviet Union launches the Sputnik satellite which leads to the National Defence Education Act and the injection of unprecedented new resources. 1958 – National Defense Education Act (NDEA), which offered loans to undergraduate university students and fellowships to graduates for languages and international studies. 1960 – Harvard and all other institutions create a vice president for development, complete with a large staff, as a permanent officer who report directly to the president. 1965 – The establishment of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts to sustain a broad range of disciplines.


AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION By 1970 there was a pervasive appeal for expansion across all institutions that led to a proliferation of new degree programs and fields of study. It was predicated on a belief of continued enrollment growth and generous funding over the coming decade – presumptions that turned out to be incorrect. 1975–76: Higher Education enrolments decline by 175,000. By 1980, a bit over 78% of all students attend public institutions in contrast to the 50:50 split in 1950s. 1980 – Congress passes the Bayh-Dole Act, which enabled universities to patent federally funded research on a large scale for the first time. The rise of the university-industry complex! 1996 – rise of the for-profit university with best example being the University of Phoenix with a multistate network of sites along with reliance on “distance learning” technology to offer both coursework and degree programs.


AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION Until late 19th century, most experts and expert knowledge was produced outside the university sector. By 1920 only ~25 universities could claim to have a comprehensive research agenda. By 2001, just over 150 public and private institutions were listed in the Carnegie classification of doctoral research universities. There are 3,900 institutions of Higher Education in the United States. Top 50 institutions ranked in federal research and development expenditure for 2000 received more than $14 billion in funds. Eric Gould: The Univer$ity in a Corporate Culture, 2003, Yale University Press

Value of U.S. Higher Education System: 

Value of U.S. Higher Education System In 1997 the National Science Foundation reported that 73 per cent of scientific research cited in American industrial patents was carried out in universities and other laboratories funded by U.S. government. A study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that publicly funded research was a “critical contributor” to the discovery of nearly all of the twenty-five most important drugs introduced between 1970 and 1995. Alan Greenspan said that “70% of the growth of the American Gross Domestic Product, since World War II, can be directly attributed to the exploitation of new technologies” (former Chairman of the Federal Reserve).

U.S. Basic and Applied Research Spending in 2006: 

U.S. Basic and Applied Research Spending in 2006 National Institutes of Health – $28.6 billion National Science Foundation – $5.6 billion NASA – $16.6 billion Department of Energy – $8.6 billion Department of Agriculture – $2.43 billion Department of Commerce – $1.1 billion Department of Homeland Security – $1.3 billion Others (EPA, DOT, DVA & USGS) – $2.8 billion Department of Defense will spend $73 billion on R&D

Ranking of Top US State Universities: 

Ranking of Top US State Universities Based on 9 measures of Performance Top 10 (in alphabetical order) reached the top 25 in 8-9 measures for Public US Universities

Ranking of Top US Private Universities: 

Ranking of Top US Private Universities Based on 9 measures of Performance Top 10 (in alphabetical order) reached the top 25 in all 9 measures for Private US Universities


References Clark Kerr: The Uses of the University, Harvard University Press, 2001. David L. Kirp: Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line – The Marketing of Higher Education, Harvard University Press, 2004. Eric Gould: The Univer$ity in a Corporate Culture, Yale University Press, 2003. Andrew Abbott et al: The future of the City of Intellect, Stanford University Press, 2002. John R. Thelin: A History of American Higher Education, John Hopkins University Press, 2004. Derek Bok: Universities in the Market Place –The Commercialization of Higher Education, Princeton University Press, 2003.


References Jennifer Washburn: University Inc. The corporate corruption of higher education. Basic Book, New York, 2005. Top American Research Universities. The Center at University of Florida. Kei Koizumi - AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program. Congressional Action on Research and Development in the FY 2006 Budget.

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