chapter
6 Pages

Introduction

Although most higher education programs include a course on the history of American higher education, these programs place little emphasis on exploring historical issues or using historical methods to examine higher education problems. Why? Because most history of higher education courses are taught by higher education scholars with little background in history. Rather than learning how the history of higher education has been constructed by historians and about important concepts and movements that developed over time, students are taught about names, dates and events in less than exciting ways (note: this was my experience early on in graduate school until I discovered my mentor John Thelin-he brought history alive for me). Moreover, with the exception of survey texts, higher education faculty members do not have the tools to teach the history of higher education in a comprehensive manner. Thus, students who choose to pursue historical research usually have to fend for themselves, searching for methods texts and proceeding with uncertainty about exactly how to “do” historical research.