To understand the current U.S. college and university system, it helps to look back at the history of higher education across time. We look first (and briefly) at Europe, where higher education emerged and then to the United States system. This interactive map explores major "eras" in history and reveals pivotal moments, policies and practices that forever changed the face of higher education.
Significant Educational Thinkers and Writers
- (1690) John Locke: Essay Concerning Human Understanding
- (1734) Christian von Wolff: Faculty Psychology
- (1924) Max Wertheimer: Gestalt Theory
- (1929) Jean Piaget: The Child's Conception of the World
- (1966) Jerome Bruner: Toward a Theory of Instruction
Federal Government Acts in Support of Education
- (1819) Supreme Court Case: Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward
- (1862) The First Morrill Act (the "Land Grant Act")
- (1944) The Servicemen's Readjustment Act (The G.I. Bill)
- (1965) The Higher Education Act
- (2001) The No Child Left Behind Act
Instances Where Student Activism Changed the Face of American Universities
- (1962) Full Racial Integration
- (1962) Equal Access for those with disabilities
- (1968) Bilingual public education is a legal right
- (1969) African American Studies is a legitimate course of study
- (1982) All public schools must be coeducational
Landmark Events in the Struggle for African Americans to have Equal Access to Higher Education.
- (1833) Oberlin College is founded and is the first in the nation to admit students "without respect to color."
- (1837) The Institute for Colored Youth (today Cheyney University) is founded as the first Historically Black College.
- (1890) The Second Morrill Act leads to the creation of 16 historically black land-grant colleges.
- (1922) Howard University conducts the first course in the U.S. on African Civilizations.
- (1944) The United Negro College Fund is established.
- (1968) The First Black Studies Department in the United States Is Established at San Francisco State University
- (1988) Temple University's African American Studies Department becomes the first Ph.D. granting African American Studies department in the world.
- (2004) According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2.3 million African American students are enrolled in college
- (2020) Minority students are forecast to outnumber whites on college campuses for the first time.