Amid the clamorous debates on political correctness, the Western can, and alcohol abuse on campus, many observers have failed to tice the most radical change in the American University: the Golden Age of massive government funding is gone. And, as Stuart Rojstaczer points out in this incisive look at higher education, the consequences are affecting virtually every aspect of university life. Laced with humorous and insightful anecdotes, Gone for Good is a highly personal tour of the university system as it has evolved from the glory days of phemenal post-WWII growth to the financial stresses that w beset it. Stuart Rojstaczer, professor of Hydrology at Duke, shows how almost unlimited funding during the Cold War years encouraged universities to become unwieldy behemoths-with ever-enlarging faculties and administrative staffs, an explosion of new buildings that are proving costly to maintain, and a parade of programs designed largely to impress other universities. Rojstaczer asserts that despite the scarcity of new funding sources, universities continue to strive for unlimited growth-with disastrous results: skyrocketing tuition (well over USD20,000 per year at top tier schools); desperate attempts to increase enrollments (lower standards, inflated grades, and new majors in some rather implausible areas of study); and increasing pressure on faculty who already spend more time researching than teaching to raise more money through research grants. The time has come, Rojstaczer argues, to abandon an outmoded idea of growth and create a leaner university system more beneficial to both students and society. For parents, students, and anyone interested higher education, Gone for Good offers a vivid account of the crossroads where universities w stand-and a compelling argument about which path they should take.
Stuart Rojstaczer is Associate Professor of Geology, Environment and Engineering, and Director, Center for Hydrologic Science at Duke University. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.