chapter  4
Taking Action
Pages 22

Recent trends in higher education include an emphasis on developing programs that provide outreach or service to the communities in which they are located. The “third mission” of service to the community has had a long and fluctuating history within academe. While the founding mission of higher education was to produce beneficial and helpful citizens for the developing democracy, in the U.S. this initially translated into preparing the wealthy elite to become leaders of society (Roper and Hirth 2005). Throughout the 1800s, however, widespread education became a way to promote prosperity, particularly in the agricultural and practical arts (for example, woodworking). Solidifying “service” as an important aspect of the university was the Morrill Act of 1890 which created land grant institutions establishing the concept of federal funding for higher education (Roper and Hirth 2005). Service was seen as a way to give back to the community for its support. This time period also marked the development of the research institution and throughout the 1900s universities grew both as providers of wide-scale general education and research institutions with increasing specialization in disciplines (Roper and Hirth 2005). While the scientific research focus and specialization developed, service declined, particularly during the 1950s (Roper and Hirth 2005).