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Abelard to Apple, Richard A. Demillo

2012/01/16

As someone who works in a community college and sees daily the impact of academic policy on students, this book was a useful look into the inner workings of college and university administration and policies. Demillo examines the historical role and development of the American higher education system, including stories of shady dealings and political maneuvering, the development of the idea of a “multiversity,” the questions of whether universities are set up to serve students or faculty. He provides commentary on the penchant of university presidents to style themselves as stewards of tradition rather than visionaries for future success; shares a letter to a university president in which an alumni berates him for not winning football games and refuses to send any money for the purpose of academics; and addresses the career focused majors in America to some of the less restrictive major fields in other countries.

The book does drag on a bit in the middle, but the closing chapter is very useful for anyone who is in a position of vision-casting. Demillo addresses the different impact that the changing educational climate will have on the elite universities, middle colleges, and for-profit schools, and provides some tips for the middle colleges to differentiate themselves from the pack and adapt to this new environment.

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