This is an analysis of higher education in the past half century, a period of dramatic change and democratization. But it is more than that. The author has been a participant in the struggle to stem the decline in higher education, as it moved from an emphasis on classical liberal values toward relativism and ideological extremism. This volume reflects an awareness of what has been lost, but sees hope for a revival of traditional values as technological change and awareness of failure forces institutions to examine their premise. Herbert I. London has provided here fuel for fundamental redirection in American college and university affairs. Decline and Revival in Higher Education is uncompromising in its concerns, but points the way toward a future linked to the best of the past.
The work follows the personal evolution of the author, while at the same time, describes the devolution of university standards in such institutions as Columbia, Duke, the University of California at Berkeley, and New York University. While seeing optimistic trends in oases of traditional programming that can serve as a counterweight to campus orthodoxies, London argues that the dramatic transformation of the academy cannot be denied. The social sciences and humanities in particular have become isolated from mainstream requirements in the nation.
London deals with concrete concerns, such as the collapse of classic book programs in the contemporary curriculum, the decline and even vigilante raids on opposition in campus publications, the collapse of moral judgment in favor of pure relativism, the transformation of many museums into a storage houses of debris, and the confusion of coarse language with democratization. These developments lead the author to write this book, for if the culture wars are over, the American people may be the losers.
Table of Contents
1. The Tenured Left
2. College Life from 1968 to the Present (The Barzun Perspective)
3. Decline and Revival
4. Experiments in the Academy
5. Off Track at Specifi c Institutions
6. Sports and Educational Standards
7. The Student Perspective
8. The Heroes in the Halls of Ivy
9. Scholarship and the Curriculum