American Higher Education: Issues and Institutions, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

American Higher Education

Issues and Institutions, 1st Edition

By John R. Thelin


366 pages

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pub: 2017-03-01
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Higher education in the United States is a complex, diverse, and important enterprise. The latest book in the Core Concepts in Higher Education series brings to life issues of governance, organization, teaching and learning, student life, faculty, finances, college sports, public policy, fundraising, and innovations in higher education today. Written by renowned author John R. Thelin, each chapter bridges research, theory, and practice and discusses a range of institutions – including the often overlooked for-profits, community colleges, and minority serving institutions. A blend of stories and analysis, this exciting new book challenges present and future higher education practitioners to be informed and active participants, capable of improving their institutions.


"To chart a path for the future, we need an understanding of the past. Thelin provides that understanding in a book that is erudite, thoughtful, provocative, and funny."

-William G Tierney, Wilbur Kieffer Professor of Higher Education and Co-director, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California

"Drawing on his years of work as a preeminent historian, John Thelin presents a portrait of American higher education that is both an artistic collage and a scholarly historical analysis. Examining the full range of institutional types, this book is a valuable resource to those deeply familiar with universities and colleges, as well as those new to the study of higher education. Professor Thelin weaves together stories, examples, events, places, issues, and themes, to create a fascinating and highly engaging tapestry that illuminates the accomplishments, possibilities, and challenges deeply embedded in American higher education."

-Ann E. Austin, Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education and Associate Dean for Research, College of Education, Michigan State University

American Higher Education offers a lively, sweeping overview of the opportunities and challenges facing colleges and universities, past and present. Drawing on up-to-date examples, John Thelin outlines the dilemmas that key university stakeholders face on matters ranging from instruction to innovation, financial aid to medical facilities, athletics to governance, and student life to sponsored research. With an enduring sense of educational values, including equity and access, Thelin offers readers a view of colleges and universities that will rivet, confound, and occasionally hearten all those interested in this crucial sector of American life.

-Catherine Epstein, Dean of the Faculty and Winkley Professor of History, Amherst College

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Introduction



Chapter 1: Introduction: Higher Education Inside and Out

Chapter 2: Bricks and Mortar: Creating the American Campus

Chapter 3: Teaching and Learning

Chapter 4: Students and Student Life

Chapter 5: Faculty and the Academic Profession

Chapter 6: Governance and Organization: Structures and Cultures

Chapter 7: Fiscal Fitness: Budgets and Finances

Chapter 8: Intercollegiate Athletics: Higher Education’s Peculiar Institution

Chapter 9: Public Policies: The Campus and Federal, State, and Local Governments

Chapter 10: Fund-raising and Philanthropy: The Nonprofit Sector

Chapter 11: Research and Development: The Enterprising Campus

Chapter 12: Colleges and Consumerism: Cost and Price of Higher Education

Chapter 13: Innovations and Internationalizations in American Higher Education

Chapter 14: Conclusion: Beyond Business as Usual


About the Author

John R. Thelin is Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy at the University of Kentucky, USA.

About the Series

Core Concepts in Higher Education

Core Concepts in Higher Education is a textbook series for the education of new professionals, covering the core areas of study in the field of higher education and student affairs. This timely and dependable series provides the necessary tools to ensure practice is informed by theory and research. The books in this series invite students to think critically about the field to discover what has been left out and what needs to be learned, and also provides frameworks and constructs for addressing challenges facing higher education. The Core Concepts in Higher Education series moves thought, action, and scholarship forward by valuing, reconstructing, and building on the foundations of the field. Through a rich combination of research, theory, and practice, this series aims to move the field into a new generation of scholarship to better prepare students for authentic leadership of our colleges, universities, and academic communities.

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