It is evident that higher education in the United States has gone through a tremendous transformation since its origins in the mid 1600’s. From schools whose only function was the training of ministers to the contemporary university of free and open access, both society and culture have had tremendous effects on the evolution of higher education in America. This paper will explore those transformations as related by the themes woven through the ten generations identified by. It will also offer evidence to support the identified theme of each generation.
The first generation of higher education in America saw the development of colleges as adjuncts or outgrowths of their respective churches. The original three colleges of the colonies Harvard, Yale and William and Mary all sought to educate their students as ministers. It was the belief that preparation for the ministry was predicated by a liberal education that included studies focused on classical languages and the three philosophies of ethics, metaphysics and science.
The second generation of higher education in America saw a break from the purely religious institutions of the first generation to a more secular model of education. In addition, the teaching model moved from one of tutors to one of more competent instruction. Instead of primarily educating men for the clergy as in the previous generation, the existing colleges also now sought to educate a growing class of gentlemen who pursued professional and merchant careers. (Geiger, 2005)
In this generation of higher education in America, several elements gained paramount importance including the idea of a republican education coupled with influences from the E...
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