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Going to College in the Sixties

John R. Thelin
foreword by Michael A. Olivas

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The 1960s was the most transformative decade in the history of American higher education—but not for the reasons you might think.

Picture going to college in the sixties: the protests and marches, the teach-ins and sit-ins, the drugs, sex, and rock 'n' roll—hip, electric, psychedelic. Not so fast, says bestselling historian John R. Thelin. Even at radicalized campuses, volatile student demonstrations coexisted with the "business as usual" of a flagship state university: athletics, fraternities and sororities, and student government.

In Going to College in the Sixties, Thelin reinterprets the…

The 1960s was the most transformative decade in the history of American higher education—but not for the reasons you might think.

Picture going to college in the sixties: the protests and marches, the teach-ins and sit-ins, the drugs, sex, and rock 'n' roll—hip, electric, psychedelic. Not so fast, says bestselling historian John R. Thelin. Even at radicalized campuses, volatile student demonstrations coexisted with the "business as usual" of a flagship state university: athletics, fraternities and sororities, and student government.

In Going to College in the Sixties, Thelin reinterprets the campus world shaped during one of the most dramatic decades in American history. Reconstructing all phases of the college experience, Thelin explores how students competed for admission, paid for college in an era before Pell Grants, dealt with crowded classes and dormitories, voiced concerns about the curriculum, grappled with new tensions in big-time college sports, and overcame discrimination. Thelin augments his anecdotal experience with a survey of landmark state and federal policies and programs shaping higher education, a chronological look at media coverage of college campuses over the course of the decade, and an account of institutional changes in terms of curricula and administration.

Combining student memoirs, campus publications, oral histories, and newsreels, along with archival sources and institutional records, the book goes beyond facile stereotypes about going to school in the sixties. Grounded in social and political history, with a scope that will appeal both to a new generation of scholars and to alumni of the era, this engaging book allows readers to consider "going to college" in both the past and the present.

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Going to College in the Sixties

John R. Thelin
foreword by Michael A. Olivas

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Reviews

In order to cover an entire decade of student experience, Thelin impressively draws upon oral histories, national and local newspapers, campus publications, student memoirs, and institutional archives. Going to College in the Sixties thus offers some unique insights and breaks ground in the proposal that the decade was not all that it has been made out to be.

Full of key events, vivid anecdotes, and fascinating stories about real people, this book's compelling chapters emphasize life on campus as experienced by the vast majority of students, most of whom were not involved in activism or were involved for only a portion of the 1960s. No single volume does as much to truly cover the college experience and influences of the sixties on higher education—well beyond the headlines and drama of the era.

For those who automatically know the phrase, 'All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray,' Going to College in the Sixties is a trip down memory lane. More importantly, for all of us, John Thelin’s history offers a reflective moment to consider what we want our colleges and universities to be today. Thoughtful. Engaging. Scholarship at its best.

John R. Thelin’s Going to College in the Sixties is a walk through the thoughts, antics, fears, and dreams of students. His use of memoirs brings to the forefront riveting firsthand stories of life for college students and makes them relatable and engaging.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
224
ISBN
9781421440019
Illustration Description
17 halftones
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Michael A. Olivas
Preface
Acknowledgements
1. Rediscovering American Higher Education in the 1960s
2. College Prep
3. "The Knowledge Industry"
4. Student Activities and

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Michael A. Olivas
Preface
Acknowledgements
1. Rediscovering American Higher Education in the 1960s
2. College Prep
3. "The Knowledge Industry"
4. Student Activities and Activism
5. Colleges and Curriculum
6. College Sports
7. Conclusion
Index
About the Author

Author Bios
John R. Thelin
Featured Contributor

John R. Thelin

John R. Thelin is University Research Professor and a member of the Educational Policy Studies Department at the University of Kentucky. His many books include A History of American Higher Education and Games Colleges Play: Scandal and Reform in Intercollegiate Athletics, both published by Johns Hopkins.
Featured Contributor

Michael A. Olivas

Michael A. Olivas is the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law at the University of Houston Law Center and director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance.
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