CCWeek at 25: Top 25 Higher Ed Milestones
CCWeek at 25:
Top 25 Higher Ed Milestones
Higher education is undergoing a revolution. Technological changes have altered the way students learn, study and access information. The move toward a knowledge-based economy has only accelerated the changes. In some respects, however, today’s changes merely continue an evolution of American higher education that began when Harvard opened its doors in 1636. As part of Community College Week’s 25th anniversary, here is a purely subjective look at the Top 25 developments in the history of American higher education.
- In 1944, following the end of World War II, the G.I. Bill is signed into law. In the following seven years, more than two million veterans enroll in college, doubling the college population. Because the law provided the same opportunity to every veteran, regardless of background, the long-standing tradition that a college education was only for the wealthy was broken.
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 becomes law, greatly expanding opportunities for female college athletes. Though many people associate this law only with girl’s and women’s participation in sports, Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in all aspects of education.
- The First Morrill Act, also known as the “Land Grant Act” becomes law in 1862. It donates public lands to states, the sale of which would be used to endow and support colleges related to agriculture and to promote liberal and practical education. Many prominent state universities trace their roots to this legislation.
- The Truman Commission Report is issued in 1947, recommending sweeping changes in higher education, including doubling college enrollments by 1960 and extending free public education through a network of community colleges. By the 1960s, community college enrollment more than triples.
- The Pell Grant was created in 1972 as an amendment of the Higher Education Act. It was first known as the Basic Education Opportunity Grant, and was renamed in 1980 after Sen. Claiborne Pell. It was first created to provide aid to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford college and over the years has benefited millions of students.
- 1977, Apple Computer, now Apple Inc., introduces the Apple II, one of the first successful personal computers. Four years later, IBM introduces its version of the personal computer (PC) with its Model 5150. The devices prove revolutionary.
- Tim Berners-Lee, a British engineer and computer scientist considered by many to be the inventor of the Internet, writes the first web client-server protocol (Hypertext Translation Protocol or http) in 1990, which allows two computers to communicate.
- Joliet Junior College opens in Joliet, Ill., in 1901. It is the first public community college in the U.S.
- In 1890, the Second Morrill Act is enacted. It provides for the more support of colleges through the sale of public lands. Part of this funding leads to the creation of 16 historically black land-grant colleges.
- In 1636, Harvard College, the first higher education institution in America, is founded outside Boston. Harvard started as a school for preparing ministers and emphasized the study of classics.
- Sputnik, the world’s first artificial sattelite, is successfully launched in 1957. In response, the United States places new emphasis on science and science education. Congress passes the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) which authorizes increased funding for scientific research as well as science, mathematics, and foreign language education.
- The Higher Education Act of 1965 is signed at Southwest Texas State College by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It increases federal aid to higher education and provides for scholarships, student loans, and establishes a National Teachers Corps.
- Robert Yerkes, president of the American Psychological Association, develops the Army Alpha and Beta tests, a group intelligence test, to measure the intellectual capabilities of Army recruits as the country entered World War I. The tests lay groundwork for future standardized tests. In 1926, the first Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is administered. It is based on the Army Alpha test.
- The University of Phoenix establishes its “online campus” in 1989, the first to offer online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Today, it is the largest private university in North America.
- The Committee of Ten, formed by the National Education Association to establish a standard secondary school curriculum, in 1892 recommends a standardized college-oriented high school curriculum.
- In 1837, Eighty students arrive at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, the oldest college in the country that since its inception has been an institution of higher education for women.
- The African Institute (later called the Institute for Colored Youth) opens in Cheyney, Pa., 1837. Now called Cheyney University, it the oldest institution of higher education for African Americans.
- Boston Latin School, the first public school in America, is established in 1635. The school, for boys 8 to 15 years old, was intended to prepare boys for college and the service of God, reflecting the heavy influence of religion on schools at the time.
- English philosopher and physician John Locke in 1590 publishes an essay conveying his belief that the human mind is a blank slate at birth and knowledge is derived through experience, rather than innate ideas, as was believed by many at that time. His views greatly influence American education.
- Benjamin Franklin helps to establish the first “English Academy” in Philadelphia in 1751 with a curriculum that is classical and modern, including such courses as history, geography, navigation, surveying, as well as classical languages. The academy ultimately becomes the University of Pennsylvania.
- Thomas Jefferson proposes a two-track educational system, with different tracks for “the laboring and the learned.”
- The first state-funded school specifically for teacher education, then known as “normal” schools, opens in Lexington, Mass in 1839.
- The report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, “A Nation at Risk,” in 1983 calls for sweeping reforms in public education and teacher training. Among their recommendations is a forward-looking call for expanding high school requirements to include the study of computer science.
- The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, is passed with the goal of increasing the quality of vocational-technical education in the U.S. It is reauthorized in 1998 and again in 2006.
- The Higher Education Act in 2003 is amended and reauthorized, expanding access to higher education for low and middle income students, providing additional funds for graduate studies, and increasing accountability.
Source: ccweek reporting. eds-resources.com