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The New Academic Generation

The New Academic Generation

A Profession in Transformation

American colleges and universities are poised at the edge of a remarkable transformation. But while rapid technological changes and increasingly intense competition for funding are widely recognized as signs of a new era, there has also been an unprecedented though silent demographic change in the profile of the faculty. In The New Academic Generation, higher education researchers Martin Finkelstein, Robert Seal, and Jack Schuster focus on the changing face of academe, as women, foreign-born, and minority scholars enter the professoriate in larger numbers and as alternatives to full-time tenure-eligible appointments take hold.

Looking at who will teach at American colleges and universities in the future and examining their roles and responsibilities, the authors argue that the new generation will usher in an era of dramatic change with profound long-term implications. Finkelstein, Seal, and Schuster base their analysis on the 1993 National Study of Postsecondary Faculty conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. The largest national survey of faculty in a quarter-century, it provides detailed analyses permitting the authors to describe the characteristics of the relatively new entrants into academic careers, and to compare them with their more senior colleagues. The authors present their analysis in 88 tables, describe their findings, examine future issues for teaching-learning communities, and provide strategies for strengthening the faculty—and thereby higher education itself. The challenges posed by this new academic generation, they conclude, will be one of the defining issues for American colleges and universities for years to come.