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Academia's Golden Age: Universities in Massachusetts, 1945-1970

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This book examines the evolution of American universities during the years following World War II. Emphasizing the importance of change at the campus level, the book combines a general consideration of national trends with a close study of eight diverse universities in Massachusetts. The eight are Harvard, M.I.T., Tufts, Brandeis, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern and the University of Massachusetts. Broad analytic chapters examine major developments like expansion, the rise of graduate education ...

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This book examines the evolution of American universities during the years following World War II. Emphasizing the importance of change at the campus level, the book combines a general consideration of national trends with a close study of eight diverse universities in Massachusetts. The eight are Harvard, M.I.T., Tufts, Brandeis, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern and the University of Massachusetts. Broad analytic chapters examine major developments like expansion, the rise of graduate education and research, the professionalization of the faculty, and the decline of general education. These chapters also review criticisms of academia that arose in the late 1960s and the fate of various reform proposals during the 1970s. Additional chapters focus on the eight campuses to illustrate the forces that drove different kinds of institutions—research universities, college-centered universities, urban private universities and public universities—in responding to the circumstances of the postwar years.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A magnificent work of scholarship....No book tells more about the dirty little secrets of universities as they jockey to enhance their prestige and resources. No book tells more about the universities and colleges of a single state. Academia's Golden Age is one of the very best books ever written about the history of American higher education."—Society

"An elegantly written piece of social history that can take its place with pride next to the work of Arthur Schlesinger, Sr., Oscar Handlin, and Samuel Eliot Morison."—Boston Phoenix

"With higher education under fire from so many quarters, a comprehensive history of the development of eight Massachusetts colleges and universities could not be more timely.... From presidential searches to battles over campus expansions, the book provides an exhaustive behind-the-scenes look at some of the nation's leading institutions....Essential reading."—Boston Globe

"Provid[es] critical insights into an unexplored era in American higher education....This readable, scholarly text compares favorably with L.G. Heller's excellent The Death of the American University."—Choice

"With scholarly authority and clarity of style, Richard Freeland has captured brilliantly those brief years during which America put its colleges and universities on a pedestal. He does so with a focus on metropolitan Boston, long considered the academic Athens of America, and he examines that claim in contemporary times. Skillfully treating the overall pattern of development in higher education and that of eight specific institutions, Freeland moves over a wide range from Harvard and M.I.T. to the University of Massachusetts. He examines the triumphs and trials of each. As a onetime faculty member and administrator in all three, I can testify to the quality of his historical analysis and to the gracefulness of his writing. For anyone who wants to understand higher education in the United States today, this book has to be read and pondered."—Robert Wood, Wesleyan University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195054644
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1992
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 544
  • Lexile: 1490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.87 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Massachusetts, Boston
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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Contexts
1 Academic Development and Social Change: Higher Education in Massachusetts before 1945 17
Prologue: Three Centuries of College Building, 1636-1929 18
Historical Dynamics of Academic Change 35
The Long Pause, 1929-1945: University Development in Depression and War 51
2 The World Transformed: A Golden Age for American Universities, 1945-1970 70
Academic Ideas and Developmental Opportunities in the Postwar Years 70
The Three Revolutions: Enrollments, Finances, and Faculty 86
Disarray and Reassessment: A Second Debate on Academic Values 97
Pt. 2 Institutions
3 Emergence of the Modern Research University: Harvard and M.I.T., 1945-1970 123
From Depression to Prosperity: The Early Postwar Years 123
Consolidating the New Focus: Research and Graduate Education 139
The Economics of Academic Progress 148
Undergraduate Education in the Research University 154
Organizational Dimensions of Academic Change 161
The Old Order Changes 172
4 Evolution of the College-centered University: Tufts and Brandeis, 1945-1970 179
The Postwar Years at Tufts 179
The Founding of Brandeis 185
Institutional Mobility in the Early Golden Age 192
The 1960s at Tufts 201
The 1960s at Brandeis 207
Organization, Leadership, and Institutional Change 212
Dilemmas of the College-centered University 223
5 Transformation of the Urban University: Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern, 1945-1972 234
Postwar Boom: Veterans, Growth, and Capital Accumulation 234
Shifting Emphasis in the 1950s 242
The "Bonanza Years" at Boston College 251
The "Blooming" at Northeastern 260
The 1960s at Boston University 268
Institutional Mobility and Organizational Form 274
The Irony of the Urban University 286
The Good Times End 289
6 From State College to University System: The University of Massachusetts, 1945-1973 298
The Early Postwar Years 298
UMass in the 1950s 306
UMass in the 1960s 315
Academic Organization and Political Systems 333
From Rapid Growth to Steady State 346
Pt. 3 Patterns
7 The Institutional Complex and Academic Adaptation, 1945-1980 355
The Institutional Complex in Action: 1945-1970 355
Adaptations of the 1970s 379
The Institutional Complex and the Reform Agenda 401
Abbreviations 421
Notes 424
Bibliography 484
Index 512
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2000

    Detailed scholarship

    This book is accurate, well-organized, and thoroughly researched. Personally, I disagreed with several of the author¿s main assumptions. Freeland assumes that ¿bigger is better,¿ that major growth in the size of an institution is always a good thing. Secondly, I found the author¿s almost exclusive focus on the doings of college presidents, to be somewhat limiting. In this book, students play a relatively unimportant role in academia¿s ¿golden age.¿ As one who teaches at both a private four-year college and a community college, I was disappointed that the author ignored other sectors of higher education; for example, the small, elite liberal arts colleges of our nation. Such richness and diversity of institutions makes higher education in the United States a unique non-system, unlike any other system in the world today. Despite these shortcomings, I highly recommend Academia¿s Golden Age, as an excellent analysis of a truly remarkable era in higher education, both for Massachusetts, and for the United States. As a professor and doctoral student, I found this book to provide an intriguing backstage view of the inner workings of academia. Administrators in higher education, particularly those struggling with policy issues, would find this book very helpful in their work. Those interested in historical topics would find this a great volume for their reference bookshelf. I also recommend the book to college and university students studying management, organizational psychology, or education.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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