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The Carnegie Commission and Council on Higher Education: A Retrospective


  • Douglass, John Aubrey


It has been nearly forty years since Clark Kerr was asked to create and lead the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education under the auspices of the Carnegie Corporation. The Commission was to be a national effort, unprecedented both in scope and in the freedom of its director, Kerr, to guide its research and productivity. Carnegie President Alan Pifer promised substantial funding for five years or more. Working with Pifer, and with Alden Dunham, David Robinson, and others, Kerr initiated a great array of studies and provide recommendations on the most vital issues facing American higher education in the latter part of the twentieth century. This essay reviews the origins of the Commission, its successor organization, the Carnegie Council, and the influence of a number of major reports. The essay also notes the need to revisit the work of the commission and council as a source of ideas relevant today, and suggests that there is a need for a greater national approach to supporting US higher education.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglass, John Aubrey, 2005. "The Carnegie Commission and Council on Higher Education: A Retrospective," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt8t1820mv, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:cshedu:qt8t1820mv

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harley, Diane & Henke, Jonathan & Lawrence, Shannon & Miller, Ian & Perciali, Irene & Nasatir, David, 2006. "Use and Users of Digital Resources: A Focus on Undergraduate Education in the Humanities and Social Sciences," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt8c43w24h, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
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