The Role of Higher Education in America: A Spa or a Smörgåsbord?
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 4 No. 3 (2003): Vol-4-Issue-3-March-2003
American higher education has a long and rich tradition of seeking higher moral and civic purposes in
its endeavors. . . [C]ampuses have been the sites of debate on the critical issues of the day and faculty
have sought to provide students with tools for rigorous analysis, critical reflection . . . . Now more than
ever, higher education is challenged to educate the leaders of tomorrow and to connect those future
leaders with the world of today. (Hollander 1999, v).
Since the GI Bill changed the nature of college education after World War II, programs of higher
education have continued to evolve toward the service organizations that we enjoy today. Universities,
once the purview of the well-to-do and privileged, opened their doors to thousands of first-generation
students – students who were the first in their families to study past the level of public school – and
thousands more who could never have afforded to attend a university program (Merrow 2005).
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