Locus of Authority

The William G. Bowen Series

Book 85
Princeton University Press
Free sample

Do higher education institutions have what it takes to reform effectively from within? Locus of Authority argues that every issue facing today's colleges and universities, from stagnant degree completion rates to worrisome cost increases, is exacerbated by a century-old system of governance that desperately requires change. While prior studies have focused on boards of trustees and presidents, few have looked at the place of faculty within the governance system. Bowen and Tobin explore whether departments remain the best ways through which to organize decision making and if the concepts of academic freedom and shared governance need to be sharpened and redefined. Using case studies of four very different institutions, the authors demonstrate that college and university governance has capably adjusted to the necessities of the moment and governance norms and policies should be assessed in the context of historical events. They also demonstrate that successful reform depends on the artful consideration of technological, financial, and cultural developments. Locus of Authority shows that the consequences of not addressing college and university governance are more than the nation can afford.
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About the author

William G. Bowen (1933-2016) was president emeritus of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University and founding chairman of ITHAKA.. His many books included The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions (with Derek Bok) (Princeton). Eugene M. Tobin is senior program officer for higher education and scholarship in the humanities at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and former president of Hamilton College.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 5, 2015
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781400865635
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Administration / Higher
Education / Administration / School Superintendents & Principals
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / Higher
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Two of the most visible and important trends in higher education today are its exploding costs and the rapid expansion of online learning. Could the growth in online courses slow the rising cost of college and help solve the crisis of affordability? In this short and incisive book, William G. Bowen, one of the foremost experts on the intersection of education and economics, explains why, despite his earlier skepticism, he now believes technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning. As a former president of Princeton University, an economist, and author of many books on education, including the acclaimed bestseller The Shape of the River, Bowen speaks with unique expertise on the subject.

Surveying the dizzying array of new technology-based teaching and learning initiatives, including the highly publicized emergence of "massive open online courses" (MOOCs), Bowen argues that such technologies could transform traditional higher education--allowing it at last to curb rising costs by increasing productivity, while preserving quality and protecting core values. But the challenges, which are organizational and philosophical as much as technological, are daunting. They include providing hard evidence of whether online education is cost-effective in various settings, rethinking the governance and decision-making structures of higher education, and developing customizable technological platforms. Yet, Bowen remains optimistic that the potential payoff is great.


Based on the 2012 Tanner Lectures on Human Values, delivered at Stanford University, the book includes responses from Stanford president John Hennessy, Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner, Columbia University literature professor Andrew Delbanco, and Coursera cofounder Daphne Koller.

Higher Education in America is a landmark work--a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the current condition of our colleges and universities from former Harvard president Derek Bok, one of the nation's most respected education experts. Sweepingly ambitious in scope, this is a deeply informed and balanced assessment of the many strengths as well as the weaknesses of American higher education today. At a time when colleges and universities have never been more important to the lives and opportunities of students or to the progress and prosperity of the nation, Bok provides a thorough examination of the entire system, public and private, from community colleges and small liberal arts colleges to great universities with their research programs and their medical, law, and business schools. Drawing on the most reliable studies and data, he determines which criticisms of higher education are unfounded or exaggerated, which are issues of genuine concern, and what can be done to improve matters.

Some of the subjects considered are long-standing, such as debates over the undergraduate curriculum and concerns over rising college costs. Others are more recent, such as the rise of for-profit institutions and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Additional topics include the quality of undergraduate education, the stagnating levels of college graduation, the problems of university governance, the strengths and weaknesses of graduate and professional education, the environment for research, and the benefits and drawbacks of the pervasive competition among American colleges and universities.


Offering a rare survey and evaluation of American higher education as a whole, this book provides a solid basis for a fresh public discussion about what the system is doing right, what it needs to do better, and how the next quarter century could be made a period of progress rather than decline.

When universities began in the Middle Ages, Pope Gregory IX described them as "wisdom's special workshop." He could not have foreseen how far these institutions would travel and develop. Tracing the eight-hundred-year evolution of the elite research university from its roots in medieval Europe to its remarkable incarnation today, Wisdom's Workshop places this durable institution in sweeping historical perspective. In particular, James Axtell focuses on the ways that the best American universities took on Continental influences, developing into the finest expressions of the modern university and enviable models for kindred institutions worldwide. Despite hand-wringing reports to the contrary, the venerable university continues to renew itself, becoming ever more indispensable to society in the United States and beyond.

Born in Europe, the university did not mature in America until the late nineteenth century. Once its heirs proliferated from coast to coast, their national role expanded greatly during World War II and the Cold War. Axtell links the legacies of European universities and Tudor-Stuart Oxbridge to nine colonial and hundreds of pre–Civil War colleges, and delves into how U.S. universities were shaped by Americans who studied in German universities and adapted their discoveries to domestic conditions and goals. The graduate school, the PhD, and the research imperative became and remain the hallmarks of the American university system and higher education institutions around the globe.

A rich exploration of the historical lineage of today's research universities, Wisdom's Workshop explains the reasons for their ascendancy in America and their continued international preeminence.

American higher education faces some serious problems—but they are not the ones most people think. In this brief and accessible book, two leading experts show that many so-called crises—from the idea that typical students are drowning in debt to the belief that tuition increases are being driven by administrative bloat—are exaggerated or simply false. At the same time, many real problems—from the high dropout rate to inefficient faculty staffing—have received far too little attention. In response, William G. Bowen and Michael S. McPherson provide a frank assessment of the biggest challenges confronting higher education and propose a bold agenda for reengineering essential elements of the system to meet them. The result promises to help shape the debate about higher education for years to come.

Lesson Plan shows that, for all of its accomplishments, higher education today is falling short when it comes to vital national needs. Too many undergraduates are dropping out or taking too long to graduate; minorities and the poor fare worse than their peers, reinforcing inequality; and college is unaffordable for too many. But these problems could be greatly reduced by making significant changes, including targeting federal and state funding more efficiently; allocating less money for "merit aid" and more to match financial need; creating a respected “teaching corps” that would include nontenure faculty; improving basic courses in fields such as math by combining adaptive learning and face-to-face teaching; strengthening leadership; and encouraging more risk taking.
It won't be easy for faculty, administrators, trustees, and legislators to make such sweeping changes, but only by doing so will they make it possible for our colleges and universities to meet the nation’s demands tomorrow and into the future.

As the tumultuous decade of the 1960s ended, a number of very traditional, very conservative, highly prestigious colleges and universities in the United States and the United Kingdom decided to go coed, seemingly all at once, in a remarkably brief span of time. Coeducation met with fierce resistance. As one alumnus put it in a letter to his alma mater, "Keep the damned women out." Focusing on the complexities of institutional decision making, this book tells the story of this momentous era in higher education—revealing how coeducation was achieved not by organized efforts of women activists, but through strategic decisions made by powerful men.

In America, Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth began to admit women; in Britain, several of the men's colleges at Cambridge and Oxford did the same. What prompted such fundamental change? How was coeducation accomplished in the face of such strong opposition? How well was it implemented? Nancy Weiss Malkiel explains that elite institutions embarked on coeducation not as a moral imperative but as a self-interested means of maintaining a first-rate applicant pool. She explores the challenges of planning for the academic and non-academic lives of newly admitted women, and shows how, with the exception of Mary Ingraham Bunting at Radcliffe, every decision maker leading the charge for coeducation was male.

Drawing on unprecedented archival research, “Keep the Damned Women Out” is a breathtaking work of scholarship that is certain to be the definitive book on the subject.

This book includes a set of rigorous and accessible studies on the topic of “research evidence” from a variety of levels and educational vantage points. It also provides the reader with thoughtful commentaries from leading thinkers in the field. The complex process of acquiring, interpreting, and using research evidence makes for a rich and under examined area in educational research, practice and policymaking. Policy makers, practitioners and scholars are in need of additional knowledge and practical steps in terms of the uptake of evidence into practice. In addition, sharpening understanding in terms of the ways in which research evidence is shaped or adapted at different educational levels (school, district, state, federal) as well the factors that support or constrain the acquisition and use of research evidence is of immediate use.

While professional support for evidence-based practice in schools has never been stronger, credible research has found only weak large-scale effects. This book provides us with key insights about the nature of this problem and a comprehensive approach to its solution; it is a major step toward realizing the considerable potential for school improvement of reciprocal working relationships among policy, practice and research communities. Ken Leithwood, Emeritus Professor, OISE/University of Toronto

The problem of scant research use at school sites is old, but the federal to classroom level scope of this book is unique. The authors' analysis of the current status leads to despair, but they provide a clear and compelling path forward. Michael Kirst, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University; President, California State Board of Education.

We have come a long way since the linear "Research, Dissemination, Utilization" models of knowledge use of the 1970s and 80s. Each chapter in this book lays out new directions for understanding how individuals, relationships and systems advance or impede the movement of new ideas into policy/practice. Taken together, they redefine knowledge use as a dynamic process that affects and is affected by specific characteristics of the social structures in which is occurs. It is a "must read" both for those interested in educational change and organizational theory. Karen Seashore Louis, Regents Professor, University of Minnesota

The high level Douro seminars are now a well-established tradition in the annual activities promoted by Hedda, a European consortium of nine centres and ins- tutes devoted to research on higher education, and CIPES, its Portuguese associated centre. At the seminars, each member of a small group of invited researchers presents and discusses an original research-based paper that is revised afterwards taking into account the comments of the participating colleagues. The revised papers form the basis for the annual thematic book published by Springer in the book series called Higher Education Dynamics (HEDY). Paying tribute to the regularity of the seminars, it was decided that the volumes originating from the initiative would be collected in a ‘series in the series’ called the Douro Series. Previous seminars were dedicated to in-depth analyses of different aspects of higher education systems and institutions, including institutional governance, the emergence of managerialism, markets as instruments of public policy, cost-sharing and accessibility of students to higher education and developments in quality assurance. The present volume aims at analysing the change process which the European university is undergoing as a consequence of European integration efforts. In the case of higher education, these have materialised, amongst other things, in the - plementation of the Bologna process, while the Lisbon summit also has important consequences for the university. In March 2000, the Lisbon European Council set the goal for the EU to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society in the world by 2010.
Two of the most visible and important trends in higher education today are its exploding costs and the rapid expansion of online learning. Could the growth in online courses slow the rising cost of college and help solve the crisis of affordability? In this short and incisive book, William G. Bowen, one of the foremost experts on the intersection of education and economics, explains why, despite his earlier skepticism, he now believes technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning. As a former president of Princeton University, an economist, and author of many books on education, including the acclaimed bestseller The Shape of the River, Bowen speaks with unique expertise on the subject.

Surveying the dizzying array of new technology-based teaching and learning initiatives, including the highly publicized emergence of "massive open online courses" (MOOCs), Bowen argues that such technologies could transform traditional higher education--allowing it at last to curb rising costs by increasing productivity, while preserving quality and protecting core values. But the challenges, which are organizational and philosophical as much as technological, are daunting. They include providing hard evidence of whether online education is cost-effective in various settings, rethinking the governance and decision-making structures of higher education, and developing customizable technological platforms. Yet, Bowen remains optimistic that the potential payoff is great.


Based on the 2012 Tanner Lectures on Human Values, delivered at Stanford University, the book includes responses from Stanford president John Hennessy, Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner, Columbia University literature professor Andrew Delbanco, and Coursera cofounder Daphne Koller.

Higher Education in America is a landmark work--a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the current condition of our colleges and universities from former Harvard president Derek Bok, one of the nation's most respected education experts. Sweepingly ambitious in scope, this is a deeply informed and balanced assessment of the many strengths as well as the weaknesses of American higher education today. At a time when colleges and universities have never been more important to the lives and opportunities of students or to the progress and prosperity of the nation, Bok provides a thorough examination of the entire system, public and private, from community colleges and small liberal arts colleges to great universities with their research programs and their medical, law, and business schools. Drawing on the most reliable studies and data, he determines which criticisms of higher education are unfounded or exaggerated, which are issues of genuine concern, and what can be done to improve matters.

Some of the subjects considered are long-standing, such as debates over the undergraduate curriculum and concerns over rising college costs. Others are more recent, such as the rise of for-profit institutions and massive open online courses (MOOCs). Additional topics include the quality of undergraduate education, the stagnating levels of college graduation, the problems of university governance, the strengths and weaknesses of graduate and professional education, the environment for research, and the benefits and drawbacks of the pervasive competition among American colleges and universities.


Offering a rare survey and evaluation of American higher education as a whole, this book provides a solid basis for a fresh public discussion about what the system is doing right, what it needs to do better, and how the next quarter century could be made a period of progress rather than decline.

Thomas Jefferson once stated that the foremost goal of American education must be to nurture the "natural aristocracy of talent and virtue." Although in many ways American higher education has fulfilled Jefferson’s vision by achieving a widespread level of excellence, it has not achieved the objective of equity implicit in Jefferson’s statement. In Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education, William G. Bowen, Martin A. Kurzweil, and Eugene M. Tobin explore the cause for this divide. Employing historical research, examination of the most recent social science and public policy scholarship, international comparisons, and detailed empirical analysis of rich new data, the authors study the intersection between "excellence" and "equity" objectives.

Beginning with a time line tracing efforts to achieve equity and excellence in higher education from the American Revolution to the early Cold War years, this narrative reveals the halting, episodic progress in broadening access across the dividing lines of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The authors argue that despite our rhetoric of inclusiveness, a significant number of youth from poor families do not share equal access to America’s elite colleges and universities. While America has achieved the highest level of educational attainment of any country, it runs the risk of losing this position unless it can markedly improve the precollegiate preparation of students from racial minorities and lower-income families.

After identifying the "equity" problem at the national level and studying nineteen selective colleges and universities, the authors propose a set of potential actions to be taken at federal, state, local, and institutional levels. With recommendations ranging from reform of the admissions process, to restructuring of federal financial aid and state support of public universities, to addressing the various precollegiate obstacles that disadvantaged students face at home and in school, the authors urge all selective colleges and universities to continue race-sensitive admissions policies, while urging the most selective (and privileged) institutions to enroll more well-qualified students from families with low socioeconomic status.

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