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A History of American Higher Education

A History of American Higher Education

third edition

Colleges and universities are among the most cherished—and controversial—institutions in the United States. In this updated edition of A History of American Higher Education, John R. Thelin offers welcome perspective on the triumphs and crises of this highly influential sector in American life.

Exploring American higher education from its founding in the seventeenth century to its struggle to innovate and adapt in the first decades of the twenty-first century, Thelin demonstrates that the experience of going to college has been central to American life for generations of students and their families. Drawing from archival research, along with the pioneering scholarship of leading historians, Thelin raises profound questions about what colleges are—and what they should be.

Covering issues of social class, race, gender, and ethnicity in each era and chapter, this new edition showcases a fresh concluding chapter that focuses on both the opportunities and problems American higher education has faced since 2010. The essay on sources has been revised to incorporate books and articles published over the past decade. The book also updates the discussion of perennial hot-button issues such as big-time sports programs, online learning, the debt crisis, the adjunct crisis, and the return of the culture wars and addresses current areas of contention, including the changing role of governing boards and the financial challenges posed by the economic downturn.

Anyone studying the history of this institution in America must read Thelin's classic text, which has distinguished itself as the most wide-ranging and engaging account of the origins and evolution of America's institutions of higher learning.