AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION, 1945-1970: A Personal Account by Nathan M. Pusey

AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION, 1945-1970: A Personal Account

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Nathan Marsh Pusey, former President of Lawrence and Harvard universities, has written a sanguine assessment of the changes wrought in American higher education in the 25 years following World War II. Numbers tell the most dramatic story: graduate student enrollment increased by a factor of 8 from 19401970; a thousand new colleges and universities sprang up; faculty lists quadrupled Higher education before the war centered on the liberal arts. With America's emergence as a global power after the war, American education became both international and ""relevant."" Africa, the Far and Near East became respectable provinces of study; federal funds spurred the manic growth of scientific research centers. Universities were pushed, as college seniors say, into ""the real world."" These developments, Pusey contends, both prompted and reflected a radical broadening of American education, and consequently denote a distinctive era in educational history. Although Pusey gives high marks to the general shift, he dutifully records the more ambiguous accomplishments of those years: government entry into academic funding and incursions into academic life, the demise of Cardinal Newman's dream of a joyously impractical liberal arts education, and the assaults on academia from the Right in the Fifties and from the Left in the Sixties. In spite of its presidential tact and occasionally self-serving assertions (the remarks on 1960s student unrest are, thankfully, few), this memoir represents an overview from one of the best seats in the house.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
Publisher: Harvard Univ. Press