contemporary challenges of faculty in american higher education

identify an issue or challenge involving financing in contemporary higher education. You will then write a four page paper which:

  • Describes the issue or problem that you have selected
  • Details all of the stakeholders impacted by the issue or challenge you identified, and describes how each of the stakeholders may be impacted
  • Makes empirically-based recommendations to minimize or correct that challenge

Your paper must follow APA (7th ed.) standards, and utilize at least two additional scholarly sources not used this week.

Learning Outcomes

This week students will

  1. Analyze challenges for university faculty in terms of recruiting, retention, promotion, tenure, and research. (Aligns with CLOs 1,4)
  2. Compare and contrast the role, education, and preparation of the faculty during the medieval, colonial, Civil War, Transformation, and Mass Higher Education periods. (Aligns with CLOs 1,4)
  3. Describe the financing of higher education during the medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment periods. (Aligns with CLO 1)
  4. Describe the financing of higher education during colonial, Civil War, Transformation, and Mass Higher Education periods. (Aligns with CLO 1)
  5. Analyze contemporary legal, political, and socioeconomic factors creating financing challenges for students and institutions in contemporary American higher education. (Aligns with CLO 5)


As we learned in Week 1, faculty have been a critical element of higher education dating back to the medieval period where they were masters in their respective fields. Today, faculty areas of specialization have expanded beyond Canon and Roman Law and the liberal arts. In this unit we will examine the role of the faculty in contemporary higher education (credentials, training, working conditions, salary). Contributions of faculty research in shaping public policy, practice, etc. will be examined as well. We will also examine and financial challenges in contemporary higher education (tuition, fees, endowments).

Faculty have been a part of higher education dating back to the teaching guilds at the Nations at Paris and apprentice scholars and masters dating back to the medieval university (Lucas, 2006). In early American colleges, the first group of faculty who were known as tutors were men, approximately 20 years of age, who held a bachelor’s degree and were preparing for ministry (Finkelstein, 1997). Professors were men who not only held the bachelor’s degree, but also had advanced training in medicine, law, or theology. These faculty were responsible for a single class of men, both inside and out of the classroom, for four years, and in addition to their intellectual growth, they were also responsible for the spiritual and moral well being of the students (Finkelstein). Faculty credentials as we know them today (such as the PhD) did not evolve until the Civil War era. Yale offered the first PhD in 1860. A Master’s degree was typically earned upon a student spending three years at college after completing a bachelor’s degree (Lucas, 2006). In contemporary higher education, faculty are researchers, instructors, and are a critical part of governance of the university, as well as many other roles.

Finkelstein, M. (1997). From tutor to specialized scholar: Academic professionalization in eighteenth and nineteenth century America. In L.F. Goodchild & H.S. Wechsler (Eds.). The history of higher education (2nd ed.). (pp. 80-93). Needham Heights, MA: Simon and Shuster Custom Publishing.

Required Resources


Cohen, A. M. & Kisker, C. B. (2010). The shaping of American higher education: Emergence and growth of the secondary system (2nd ed). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

  • Chapter 1: Establishing the Collegiate Form in the Colonies, 1636-1789, pp. 30-32; 49-51.
  • Chapter 2: The Diffusion of Small Colleges in the Emergent Nation, 1790-1869, pp. 77-80; 94-98.
  • Chapter 3: University Transformation as the Nation Industrializes, 1870-1944, pp. 134-143; 170-176.
  • Chapter 4: Mass Higher Education in the Era of American Hegemony, 1945-1975, pp. 219-235; 264-282.
  • Chapter 6: Privatization, Corporatization, and Accountability in the Contemporary Era, 1994-2009, pp. 485-498; 526-529.

Lucas, C. J. (2006). American higher education: A history (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Palgrave McMillan Book.

  • Chapter 2: Cathedral Church Schools to Universities, pp. 53-58.
  • Chapter 3: Post Medieval Academe: Evolution and Estrangement, pp. 71-90; 93-102.
  • Chapter 9: Epilogue in Historical Retrospect, pp. 326-331.

Recommended Resources


Hodson, J. B. & Speck, B. W. [Eds.]. (2010). New Directions for Higher Education, 149. Special Issue: Perspectives on fundraising. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Stater, M. (2009). The impact of financial aid on G.P.A. at three flagship public institutions. American Educational Research Journal, 46(3), 782-815.

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