American Higher Education in the Postwar Era, 1945-1970: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

American Higher Education in the Postwar Era, 1945-1970

1st Edition

Edited by Roger L. Geiger, Nathan M. Sorber, Christian K. Anderson


212 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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After World War II, returning veterans with GI Bill benefits ushered in an era of unprecedented growth that fundamentally altered the meaning, purpose, and structure of higher education. This volume explores the multifaceted and tumultuous transformation of American higher education that occurred between 1945 and 1970, while examining the changes in institutional forms, curricula, clientele, faculty, and governance. A wide range of well-known contributors cover topics such as the first public university to explicitly serve an urban population, the creation of modern day honors programs, how teachers’ colleges were repurposed as state colleges, the origins of faculty unionism and collective bargaining, and the dramatic student protests that forever changed higher education. This engaging text explores a critical moment in the history of higher education, signaling a shift in the meaning of a college education, the concept of who should and who could obtain access to college, and what should be taught.


"The quarter century from 1945 to 1970 stands out as important and exciting for the development of American higher education. Three outstanding historians have collaborated as editors and authors, along with additional stellar contributing authors, to provide an anthology that is a model of thoughtful scholarship."

—John R. Thelin, University Research Professor, University of Kentucky, and author of American Higher Education: Issues and Institutions (Routledge, 2017)

"Readers looking for a fresh take on higher education in the postwar period will delight in this book. With thoughtful contributions and deft framing, this stimulating volume offers new insights on higher education’s recent past."

—Christopher P. Loss, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education and History, Vanderbilt University

Table of Contents



Introduction: American Higher Education in the Postwar Era,


Roger L. Geiger

The Surprising History of the Post-WWII State Teachers College

W. Bruce Leslie and Kenneth P. O’Brien

Education for Citizenship… Is Too Important to Leave to Chance":

John Allen and the University of South Florida, 1956-1970

Charles Dorn

The Reinvention of honors programs in American Higher Education,


Julianna K. Chaszar

Collective Bargaining and College Faculty: Illinois in the 1960s

Timothy Reese Cain

Brave Sons and Daughters True: 1960s Protests at "The Fundamentalist Harvard"

Adam Laats

The Student Protest Movement in the 1968 Era in 3 Acts: Inception, Confrontations, and Legacies

Roger L. Geiger

List of Contributors

About the Editors

Roger L. Geiger is Distinguished Professor of Higher Education Emeritus at the Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Nathan M. Sorber is Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Center for the Future of Land-Grant Universities at West Virginia University, USA.

Christian K. Anderson is Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of South Carolina, USA.

About the Series

Perspectives on the History of Higher Education

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