Higher Education in America is a landmark work--a
comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the current condition
of our colleges and universities from former Harvard president
Derek Bok, one of the nation's most respected education experts.
Sweepingly ambitious in scope, this is a deeply informed and
balanced assessment of the many strengths as well as the weaknesses
of American higher education today. At a time when colleges and
universities have never been more important to the lives and
opportunities of students or to the progress and prosperity of the
nation, Bok provides a thorough examination of the entire system,
public and private, from community colleges and small liberal arts
colleges to great universities with their research programs and
their medical, law, and business schools. Drawing on the most
reliable studies and data, he determines which criticisms of higher
education are unfounded or exaggerated, which are issues of genuine
concern, and what can be done to improve matters.
Some of the subjects considered are long-standing, such as
debates over the undergraduate curriculum and concerns over rising
college costs. Others are more recent, such as the rise of
for-profit institutions and massive open online courses (MOOCs).
Additional topics include the quality of undergraduate education,
the stagnating levels of college graduation, the problems of
university governance, the strengths and weaknesses of graduate and
professional education, the environment for research, and the
benefits and drawbacks of the pervasive competition among American
colleges and universities.
Offering a rare survey and evaluation of American higher
education as a whole, this book provides a solid basis for a fresh
public discussion about what the system is doing right, what it
needs to do better, and how the next quarter century could be made
a period of progress rather than decline.
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