American Education (1917-1945)

American Universities took over from European universities as being on the frontiers of knowledge. The first women's universities opened, universities begin to diversify by class and — some — by race. A university education was increasingly viewed as a necessity for everyone in society. College accreditation began, schools began to self-categorize, admission standards came into effect, and Junior Colleges began and flourished.

American Education (1917-1945) American Education (1917-1945) American Education (1917-1945) American Education (1917-1945) American Education (1917-1945)

Scholarship is Professionalized

Groups of individuals in professional careers form professional societies (such as the American Medical Association) and use these groups to self-regulate their professions. The groups increasingly require a college degree for membership, and during this era they grow in number and clout. Similarly, a BA begins to be a requirement to open professional doors, and is expected or required for certain careers.

Universities Continue to Seek Their Unique Identities

At this time, State Universities resoundingly embrace the “bigger is better” idea, and keep admissions fairly open. Private universities, however, become increasingly selective. On the whole, universities are no longer regarded only as places designed to perpetuate/transmit knowledge; rather, universities are seen as a way to educate a mass society and teach modern and practical skills. Additionally, groups come together to begin to accredit colleges, and to determine what standards -- if any -- colleges and universities must meet. This is also the era that see the solidification of standards for both admission and progression come into effect. Before this time, these decisions were idiosyncratic and inconsistent.

Junior Colleges

The doors to higher education are flung further open by the birth of Junior Colleges. These schools, today referred to as community colleges began during this era and flourished: 275 were established between 1900-1940. The Junior College provides a new and much needed pathway to a 4-year college for an increasingly diverse student body. The Junior College also establishes the 2-year, Associates Degree, as a viable choice for many students.

Take Aways

  1. American Universities took over from European universities as being on the frontiers of knowledge.
  2. A university education begins to be seen as an important professional indicator.
  3. University accreditation begins, most schools implement admission standards.
  4. Community Colleges began and flourished.

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