1. Introduction: Do Colleges Matter?

History 3570/Spring 2014
January 22, 2014

1.  Introduction: Do Colleges & Universities Matter?

Housekeeping Matters;
Course requirements:     https://edblogs.columbia.edu/histx3570-001-2014-1/

2 hour exams and a final; three postings
Postings by you – can become part of what responsible for in exams…

All but one provided digitally
The one —

Lectures – Posted beforehand and kept posted through the exams;
might allow you to come to class with a question;
minimize the need to be trying out for court stenographer
maximize the prospect of generating some discussion

5-minute/6 question survey: [back of the 3 x 5 card)

1. Parents’ education?

2.  Siblings in college; likely to?

3. Character of secondary schooling
boarding school; private/religious; public in education-focused suburb; inner city high school?

4.  Percent of your senior class that went to college; percent to Ivies?

5. If not BC/CC/SEAS/GS, where?

6. Occupational aspirations.




1. Introduction: How Colleges and Universities Matter?

In defense of “presentism” – OK to be interested in the past for how it contributes to our  understanding /affecting the present
Not saying “the past was no different”  or   “things never really change”…. “same-o, same-o”
George Santayana  – “Those who cannot remember the past  are condemned to repeat it.” ??

The linearity of an historical accounting – start at the beginning and move forward – toward the present
The historian’s assumption: what transpired earlier might have influences/shaped/”impacted” what came later…; not much confidence that what  happened later shaped earlier events….

Today – A few data points about the present condition/place of higher education;
preemptive acknowledgment of how small a sector of higher education will be the focus of the course

Higher education – post-secondary  institutions à degree-granting colleges and universities, institutes…

National Center for Education Statistics — http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d98/d98t209.asp
Number of institutions:   4000 or so – issue state-approved degrees; eligible for federal funding

Number of individuals directly involved: 20,000,000   [indirect would include parents,
alumni  and taxpayers]
17,000,000 students
1, 8000,000 staff
1,2000,000 faculty

4-year and plus – 12,000,000
2-year programs – 5,000,000 (30%)

320,000,000 – US population
40,000,000 > 65
110,000, 000 <`18
10,000,000 unemployed
140,000,000 in US workforce (IHE  of 20,000,000 account for  14% (1 in 7)

Armed services – 2,300,000
In jail  or on parole – 7,000,000    IHE population  > twice as large

IHE have big impact on economy
As employers – CU/CUNY/NYU all among top 25 NYC employers
Middlebury/Purdue [West Lafayette, Ind.] /South Hadley….University of Rochester….

University endowments — $300 billion – Harvard with$ 30 billion?

Kinds of IHEs (by business model/governance)
800 – For profit  (University of Phoenix) – have investors seeking profits/return
3200 non-profit (80%) – excess revenues into endowment or plant…

Publics)  – 1800 (all non-profit  /  7,000,000
Privates  2200 (1600 non-profit)  / 10,000,000

Size of IHEs
Most small — < 2000
But big ones account for most of the students
University of Phoenix (120,000?)
Miami-Dade Community Colleges – 60,000
Arizona State —  55,000
(CU at 30,000 — #80?)

Kinds of IHES (by instruction provided; degrees awarded)
Full-service research universities:
Graduate programs in art and sciences
Professional graduate programs – law/business/medicine/journalism…
Undergraduate programs [“university colleges”]
Continuing education programs

Technical/professional schools
Engineering schools/business schools/medical schools
MIT/Rockefeller University/CIT/RPI….
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Community colleges/junior colleges [publics/privates/for-profits]
2-year associate degree programs
Schools of cometology/plumbing/IT/paralegal….

Columbia University one of these 100 or so full-service universities
one of 50 or so with wide array of professional schools
one of a dozen that is  private
one of a half-dozen with all that and an endowment north of $8 billion
Columbia College —  one of 3 or 4 with all that and a very selective undergraduate program

Free-standing liberal arts colleges
Liberal arts/liberal arts – Down to 130 or so (>200 in 1990)
Maybe 40 of these are competitively selective and non-sectarian
Maybe 20 with whopping endowments
Maybe  a dozen of these women’s colleges – including 6 of the 7 Sisters
      Barnard – liberal arts/competitively selective/women’s college – but not rich

Williams — $1,800,000,000  ($900,000 per student)
Amherst       1,600,000,000
Wellesley      1,500,000,000
Barnard            220,000,000  ($100,000 per student)


So, talking about the evolution of what are today the leading institutions of higher learning:
—   the 20 or so major research universities , their professional schools,
and their undergraduate colleges;
— the half-dozen more specialized research institutes
— the 25 or so leading liberal arts colleges;
50 or so – out of 4,000 institutions {some of the biggest; most of the richest]
500,000 students out of 17,000,000 [ most of the most academically-directed]
50,000 faculty [the most published, the most paid)

What does this small segment of  one part of the institutional/occupational structure do?
What is its function? What is its justification? Does it need a justification? Worth the candle?

A massive consumer of national public/private wealth/resources/space/governmental attention;

Keeps millions of strong, bright young people out of the work force for years.
Keeps the brightest out for the longest
Could Harvard’s $30 billion endowment be better used than it is?
Might your parents find a better use for the tuition they spend to send you here?
Is it all that good an investment??
The historically competing function of these “elite” institutions;

Filter by which the upper reaches of the occupational structure secures its work force:
“Irish/Coloreds Need Not Apply” — ]

Its political leadership – presidents; Supreme Court
Last 17 presidents:   BO/GWB/WC/GB/RR/JC/RN/LBJ/JFK/HT/FDR/HH/CC/WGH/WW/Hayes/TR
7 Ivies; Stanford; Amherst; UVa;   HST/WGH — LBJ
Its professional leadership [Supreme Court —
Its  scientific/academic leadership
Its business leadership

  1. Confirmatory as to the already  high status  of the recipient that came with family, wealth, occupation, other social affiliations ; assures trans-generational continuity
    [The children of Yale graduates assured admission to Yale well into the 1960s; George W. 3rd-generation Bush Yaley]
  2. Aspirational – vehicle of  upward mobility for talented/ambitious young Americans who lacked family, wealth, social-affiliations – an engine of social mobility. Provided society with  a changing elite; especially effective in providing opportunities to newcomers who came after the first wave of Protestant Europeans and enslaved Africans – Ethnic Catholics/Eastern European Jews/Asians – but also African Americans, Hispanics

    Filter by which the talented young narrow the pool of eligible partners>
    The key matrimonial test question?
    Are you saved?
    How big is your trust fund?
    How many children would you like to have?
    Where did you go to college?

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