The Great American University by Jonathan R. Cole
Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected

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Although America’s universities have become the envy of the world for their creative energy and their production of transformative knowledge, few understand how and why they have become preeminent. This groundbreaking book traces the origins and the evolution of our great universities. It shows how they grew out of sleepy colleges at the turn of the twentieth century into powerful institutions that continue to generate new industries and advance our standard of living. Far from inevitable, this transformation was enabled by a highly competitive system that invested public tax dollars in university research and students while granting universities substantial autonomy.

Today, America’s universities face considerable threats. Even greater than foreign competition are the threats from within the United States. Under the Bush administration, government increasingly imposed ideological constraints on the freedom of academic inquiry. Restrictive visa policies instituted after 9/11 continue to discourage talented foreign graduate students from training in the United States. The international financial crisis, which has depleted university endowments and state investments in higher education, threatens the vitality of some of our greatest institutions of higher learning. In order to sustain and enhance the American tradition of excellence, we must nurture this powerful—yet underappreciated—national resource.



About Jonathan R. Cole

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Jonathan R. Cole was Columbia University's provost and dean of faculties from 1989 to 2003, holding the position as the university's chief academic officer for the second-longest tenure in its 254-year history. He is currently the John Mitchell Mason Professor Emeritus at the University at Columbia.
Published January 8, 2010 by PublicAffairs. 634 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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With the emergence of organized academic disciplines and the introduction of doctorates, the American university evolved into a “hybrid”—combining the English system of undergraduate residential colleges with the German emphasis on graduate specialization—and created research laboratories and a “...

Nov 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Great American University...

The New York Times

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Cole devotes two chapters to the Bush administration, which he sees as a “frightening example of how the distrust of scholarly and scientific work — because it chal­lenges the ideological views of the prince — can begin to seriously erode the structure of knowledge production that has made our un...

Feb 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The Great American University...

Dallas News

About 4,500 institutions of higher learning in the U.S., such as the University of Illinois in Urbana, are responsible for about 1.5 million baccalaureate degrees each year.

Feb 14 2010 | Read Full Review of The Great American University...

London School of Economics

But new ways of looking at economic value can help to make the case for culture Australia’s research strength lays in science, according to first national assesment →

Feb 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The Great American University...

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