PS 601 The American University

This course explores philosophical, political, and policy issues surrounding an institution important to us all: the American university. Historically, the United States was the site of the creation of many aspects of the modern university; some elements were incorporated from British and especially German practice, but to a very great extent the development of the modern research-and-teaching university coexisting with a system of liberal arts colleges and public institutions devoted to skills development is specifically American. After World War II the developmental trend continued, to the point that by the 1960s the basic global model of a “university” was the American one. Today something like 80 of the 100 top ranked universities in the world are in the U.S. At the same time, the lists are full of books proclaiming that the American university is in crisis. They may even have a point.