Living History (each report is hyperlinked)


The Yale Report of 1828

One of the most influential documents in the history of American higher education was “The Yale Report of 1828.”   It was an impressive defense of the traditional way of teaching a fixed set of topics identically for each and every student in classical language, literature and science ? the so-called Trivium and Quadrivium.  

These topics had been taught to young men (not yet women) with only minor changes for 700 years.  Pretty impressive.  Yale would eventually follow Michigan and Harvard and introduce an elective system and a rich diversity of modern scientific, social scientific and humanistic course offerings.  But this report set Yale back 50 years.  Take a look.

Port Huron Statement 1962

Ever wonder what life was like at Michigan and other active American campuses during the 1960’s at high point of political activism, protest and efforts to restructure higher education itself?  One of the key documents of that era, written largely by Tom Hayden, became a manifesto for protest and central founding document of the Students for a Democratic Society.  For a personal narrative of life at that time read Todd Gitlin’s The Sixties : Years of Hope, Days of Rage (1993).  For a political analysis, read on…….

Report of the President's Commission on the Undergraduate Experience: The Second Chapter of Change: Renewing Undergraduate Education at the University of Michigan (2001)

In the spring of 2001 a hard-working committee of faculty, students, alumni and staff reviewed the state of undergraduate education at Michigan and made a number of concrete recommendations to the Provost and President to renew the university's committee to deepending the undergraduate experience.  Two of their conclusions, particularly relevant to the Academic Paradox are:

Navigation - The University needs to provide better "maps" and guides for students so they have increased access to the vast treasures?large and small?in our academic community. It is a profound (but easy to underestimate) idea, and calls our attention to just how difficult it can be for new students to take advantage of all we offer. And, as the Commission members said when we were together recently, it is not simply a matter of providing more information. We need to shape effective navigational tools that help students understand all the possibilities around them. 

Integration - In one of its most powerful messages, the report identifies the essential need to weave together all parts of a student’s experience here at Michigan. Whether we are talking about a better connection between North and Central campus, or a stronger link between undergraduate educational and residential experiences, or the use of public spaces to draw students and faculty together, or the important connection between our classrooms and our communities, we must work hard at integrating the various parts of a student’s living and learning experience.

The Cherry Commission

Lt. Governor's Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth, State of Michigan (2004)

Is the University of Michigan carrying its weight in the state?  Will the relationship of the state and its flagship university be changing as economic and social conditions change?







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