This course analyzes selected major works of ancient, modern, and

R. Claire Snyder-Hall
Office Hours: By appointment
Enterprise 413
[email protected]
CTCH 621: Higher Education in the United States
Higher Education Program
George Mason University
Spring 2009: M 4:30 – 7:10
Course Description:
History of higher education from colonial period to the present. Examines philosophic,
political, social, and economic forces that have influenced development. Reviews today’s
issues and challenges.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete this course will:
 Develop an understanding of the evolution and complexity of higher education in
the United States through the study of both historical and contemporary issues
 Identify and become familiar with the interconnected nature of higher education’s
various missions and key stakeholders including but not limited to students,
faculty, administrators, the federal government, and governance bodies
 Gain experience in peer teaching/learning and develop a background in critiquing
the ideas of others
 Demonstrate graduate level communication skills especially writing, speaking,
and listening
 Find and use appropriate resources – by consulting authorities, through the
library, and via the web – in order to learn more about a particular higher
education issue
Required Books
 J. R. Thelin, A History of American Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University
Press, 2004).
 Leslie Miller-Bernal and Susan L. Poulson, eds., Challenged by Coeducation:
Women’s Colleges Since the 1960s (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press,
 Noliwe M. Rooks, White Money/Black Power: The Surprising History of African
American Studies and the Crisis of Race in Higher Education (Boston: Beacon
Press, 2007).
 Dinesh D’Souza, Illiberal Education: The Politics of Sex and Race on Campus
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998).
 Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on
the Middle Class (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008).
 Derek Bok, Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students
Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 2007).
Course requirements and grading:
Class participation 15%
Class presentation 5%
Short paper 15%
Book review 15%
Research paper 50%
Participation & Attendance
Active participation in class is critical, given that the course is a seminar. In order
to participate, you need to complete all the readings for any given class, think about
discussion questions (if any), and be prepared to share your questions and opinions with
your peers.
Participation in class discussion includes demonstrating both speaking and
listening skills; in other words, students are encouraged to speak and to speak often, but
also to listen to their peers & to respond thoughtfully to others’ comments. Attendance
alone is not enough to get an A in participation. You must actively engage, so if you are
shy, you may want to prepare something to say ahead of time.
Book Review Assignment and Presentation
Find an academic book related to your research project and write a review of it.
The review should include a summary of the book’s argument followed by a critical
analysis of that argument. For examples, see the book reviews published in academic
Each student will give a 10 minute presentation to the class on the book and if
possible link it to the weekly topic. The student will also raise one question for discussion
and help lead the group in conversation about that question.
Final Research Paper
Student are required to write a final research paper (12-15 pages, excluding
bibliography) on a topic of their choosing (with approval of instructor). The paper should
include at least 8 outside sources, all of which must be academic or from reputable
policy institutes. (Wikipedia is not academic!)
Graduate Course Policies:
This is a graduate seminar and so attendance is very important; it is a necessary
pre-requisite for class participation, which constitutes 10% of your grade. Because
we only meet once a week and cover so much material in each class, please make
your best effort not to miss any class sessions. Repeated absences will detract from
your grade.
If you can’t attend the class, do not take it. However, if you develop a serious illness
or work or family problem that prevents your attendance, please let me know
immediately, so we can figure out how to proceed.
Please arrive on time. Since tardiness is disruptive, it will count as negative
participation and detract from your grade.
A graduate course requires a lot of reading and part of what you will be learning is
how to digest large amounts of material economically. Please do the reading before
A successful graduate seminar requires the full participation of all. Please arrive
prepared to participate in class discussion with questions and/or comments about the
readings. If you don’t have time to prepare fully, at least do something. If you don’t
actively participate, you probably won’t get an A for class participation.
Mason Course Policies:
 If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations,
please see me and contact the Office of Disability Resources at 703-993-2472. All
academic accommodations must be arranged through this office.
 George Mason has an Honor Code, which requires all members of this community to
maintain the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity. Cheating,
plagiarism, lying, and stealing are all prohibited. For more information see
Plagiarism includes “presenting as one’s own the works, the work, or the
opinions of someone else without proper acknowledgement” or “borrowing the
sequence of ideas, the arrangement of material, or the pattern of thought of
someone else without proper acknowledgement.” Examples: getting your paper
off the internet; turning in a paper that was written by somebody else; buying a
paper; taking a written piece from someone else but rewording it so that it looks
different; failing to cite secondary literature that has greatly influenced your
Plagiarism or cheating in my class is grounds for failure, and all violations
of the Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Committee. Do not get
yourself in trouble by failing to document correctly. If in doubt, document. If you
have a question, ask!
Students are responsible for verifying their enrollment in this class. Schedule
adjustments should be made by the deadlines published in the Schedule of Classes.
After the last day to drop a class, withdrawing from this class requires the approval of
the dean and is only allowed for nonacademic reasons.
 Last day to add: Feb. 4th.
 Last day to drop: Feb. 20th.
Course Schedule
January 26 – Introduction
 Film: “Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk”
 Short homework assignment for next time:
o Find and compare university or college’s mission statements from two
different sectors of higher education (e.g. public community college and
private liberal arts). Print and bring to class.
February 2 – The Colonial and Revolutionary Periods, 1636-1785
 Thelin, 1-40
 Vine, P. (1976). The social function of eighteenth-century higher education.
History of Education Quarterly, 16(4), 409-424. JSTOR
February 9 – LIBRARY RESEARCH: for book review and research paper topic
February 16 – College-Building Boom, 1785-1860
 Thelin, 41-73
 Horowitz, H. L. (1987). College men: The war between students and faculty. In
Campus Life: Undergraduate Cultures from the End of the Eighteenth Century to
the Present. New York: Knopf, 23-55. Available on E-Reserve
 The Yale Report of 1828. Available at
 Lane, J. C. (1987). The Yale report of 1828 and liberal education: A
neorepublican manifesto. History of Education Quarterly, 27(3), 325-338. JSTOR
February 23 – Diverse Needs and Solutions, 1861-1890
 Thelin, 74-109
 Johnson, E.L. Misconceptions about the Early Land Grant Colleges. Journal of
Higher Education, 52(4), 222-233. JSTOR
 Scott, J.C. (1999). The Chautauqua movement: revolution in popular education.
Journal of Higher Education, 70(4), 389-412. JSTOR
 Geiger, R.L. (1995). The era of multipurpose colleges in American higher
education. History of Higher Education Annual, 15, 127-152. Available on EReserve
March 2 – The Emergence of the University
 Thelin, 110-154
 Turner, J. & Bernard, P. (1993). The German model and the graduate school:
The University of Michigan and the origin myth of the American university.
History of Higher Education Annual, 13, 221-241. Available on E-Reserve
 Snyder, R.C. (2000). The civic roots of academic social science scholarship in
America. Higher Education Exchange (Spring), 5-16. Via email.
 Ratcliff, J.L. (1994). Seven Streams in the Historical Development of the Modern
Community College. In G.A. Baker (Ed.), A handbook on the community college
in American: Its history, mission, management. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press,
111-122. Available on E-Reserve
March 16 – Early Twentieth Century: 1890-1920
 Thelin, 155-204
 Synnott, M.G. (1979). The admissions and assimilation of minority students at
Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, 1900-1970. The History of Education Quarterly,
19(3), 285-304. JSTOR.
 Bowen, W.G. (2005). An equity and excellence time line. In Equity and
Excellence in American Higher Education. Charlottesville: University of Virginia
Press. Available on E-Reserve
March 23 – Expansion and Reform, 1920-1945
 Thelin, 205-259
 Coleman, S.R. (2001). Dangerous outposts: progressive experiments in higher
education in the 1920s and 1930s. In B.L. Smith & McCann (Eds.), Reinventing
ourselves: Interdisciplinary education, collaborative learning and experimentation
in higher education. Bolton, MA: Anker. Available on E-Reserve
 Rudolph, F. (1962). The Rise of Football. In The American college and university,
a history. New York: Vintage Books. Available on E-Reserve
March 30 – Post-War Higher Education, 1945-2000
 Thelin, 260-362
 Herbold, H. (1994-1995). Never a level playing field: blacks and the GI Bill.
Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 6, 104-108. JSTOR
 Kerr, C. The idea of a multiversity. In The uses of the university. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1-33. Available on E-Reserve
 Borden, V. (2004). Accommodating student swirl: when traditional students are
no longer the tradition. Change, 36(2), 10-18. InfoTrac Onefile.
April 6 – The Debate about Co-education
 Miller-Bernal and Poulson
April 13 – The Rise of Identity Studies
 Rooks
April 20 – Conservative Critiques of Higher Education
 D’Souza
April 27 – Higher Education and the Middle Class Squeeze
 Newfield
May 4 – What Should We Be Teaching?
 Bok
 FINAL PAPER DUE: May 11th at 4:30 in my mailbox (paper copy please).
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