In the United States, public colleges and universities educate more than 80 percent of the nation's 11 million college students. Public universities conduct the majority of the country's campus-based research and produce most of the nation's doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, and other professionals and public leaders. They provide critical services such as agricultural and industrial technology, health care, and economic development, and they help students of all ages develop more rewarding careers and more meaningful lives.
Written for everyone who is interested in and concerned about the nation's public universities, The Future of the Public University in America offers a view from the perspective of two experienced professionals. James J. Duderstadt, former president of the University of Michigan, and Farris W. Womack, former executive vice president and chief financial officer of the University of Michigan, explore the unique challenges facing public higher education today. They look at the forces driving change—economic imperatives, technology, and market forces—as well as the characteristics of the public university that make change difficult: the nature of its various campus communities, its governance system, its management and decision-making processes, and its leadership. The authors conclude by suggesting strategies at the state and federal level to preserve and strengthen public higher education as a resource for future generations.
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