The Rise of American Research Universities: Elites and Challengers in the Postwar Era

Overview

Before the Second World War, few universities in the United States had earned high respect among the international community of scholars and scientists. Since 1945, however, the distinctive attributes of American higher education—decentralized administration, pluralistic and research-minded faculties, and intense competition for government funding—have become world standard. Whether measured by Nobel and other prizes, international applications for student admissions and faculty appointments, or the results of ...

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Overview

Before the Second World War, few universities in the United States had earned high respect among the international community of scholars and scientists. Since 1945, however, the distinctive attributes of American higher education—decentralized administration, pluralistic and research-minded faculties, and intense competition for government funding—have become world standard. Whether measured by Nobel and other prizes, international applications for student admissions and faculty appointments, or the results of academic surveys, America's top research universities are the best in the world.

The Rise of American Research Universities provides a fresh historical interpretation of their ascendancy and a fresh, comprehensive estimate of their scholarly achievement. Hugh Davis Graham and Nancy Diamond question traditional methods of rating the reputation and performance of universities; they offer instead an empirical analysis of faculty productivity based on research grants received, published research, and peer approval of that work. Comparing the research achievements of faculty at more than 200 institutions, they differ with most studies of higher education in measuring performance in every academic field—from medicine to humanities—and in analyzing data on research activity in terms of institutional size.

In this important and timely work, Graham and Diamond reassess the success of American universities as research institutions and the role of public funding in their developmentfrom the expansionist "golden years" of the 1950s and '60s, through the austerity measures of the 1970s and the entrepreneurial ethos of the 1980s, to the budget crises universities face in the 1990s.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Miami Herald

[The authors] argue that ratings based on reputation reflect yesterday's reality and understate the quality of some universities while overstating others.

Journal of American History

Provides a historical perspective on the annual snapshots by such periodicals as U.S. News and World Report... Fluid, concise, [and] compelling.

Issues in Science and Technology

An important contribution to our understanding of what actually happened during that amazing period in the history of higher education that began with World War II.

Journal of College Student Development

A serious contribution to our knowledge of American research universities. Students and researchers of American higher education will want to read this book, as will public policy makers and administrators.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801880636
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Hugh Davis Graham was the Holland N. McTyeire Professor of American History at Vanderbilt University. Nancy Diamond is a visiting assistant professor of history and a research associate at Temple University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Origins of the American research university 9
2 The revolution in federal science policy 26
3 Comparing universities in the golden decade of the 1960s 51
4 The stagnant decade revisited : research universities adjust to the 1970s 84
5 The golden age redux : federal funding and academic research in the 1980s 117
6 The public research universities 144
7 The private research universities and rising institutions 174
App. A Institutional data for 203 research universities 223
App. B Per capita scores for 203 research universities 229
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