Unpacking the history of higher education: A journey into the past for future leaders

by Kristen Koehler

Unpacking the history of higher education: A journey into the past for future leaders

In an exciting stride towards the enrichment of higher education, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has allocated a grant of $220,000 to fund a transformative summer institute in 2024. This prestigious grant will power a unique endeavor aimed at illuminating the historical tapestry of higher education in the United States, fostering a deeper understanding among educators and leaders of tomorrow.

The heart of this trailblazing initiative lies in the four-week-long institute titled "Unpacking the History of Higher Education in the United States," masterminded by the collaboration of distinguished minds at the Higher Education Program (HEP) and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University. The project is co-directed by Kelly Schrum, professor of higher education, and Nate Sleeter, research assistant professor and RRCHNM director of educational projects.

This institute holds the promise of revolutionizing the pedagogical landscape for generations to come. "The challenges facing higher education today have their roots in the past. With this institute, we have a unique opportunity to bring faculty from across the country to George Mason University to explore innovative ways to teach this history to students who will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of higher education,” said Schrum.

This groundbreaking initiative couldn't come at a more opportune time. As our higher education institutions grapple with the complexities of the modern world, a voyage into the archives of history promises invaluable insights. Participants in this institute will be embarking on an intellectual adventure, delving into the evolution of higher education, its pivotal moments, and its transformative figures.

Beyond the conventional classroom experience, this institute heralds a digital renaissance. Participants will be immersed in the creation of digital teaching resources, breathing life into historical narratives through cutting-edge technology. The culmination of this effort will result in an all-encompassing Open Educational Resource (OER) meticulously designed to facilitate teaching on the history of higher education. This resource, a testament to collaboration and academic dedication, will stand as a guiding beacon for educators across the nation.

The significance of this initiative cannot be overstated. As the tides of change continue to shape the landscape of higher education, the foundation laid by this summer institute will empower educators to equip their students with a profound understanding of the past, empowering them to steer the course of the future.