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and innovations in student financial assistance by Georgia, Oregon and Indiana. The next chapters
offer accounts of initiatives by Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky to increase college participation in support
of state economic development. Modifications of state governance structures and processes by Florida
and Virginia are described in the following chapters. The systemwide “efficiency and effectiveness”
campaign at the University System of Maryland is highlighted in the next chapter, followed by accounts
of the responses of four states, Florida, California, New York and Pennsylvania, to economic distress
and to financial pressures on higher education budgets. The evolving and highly volatile national and
international context for higher education policy is represented by accounts of the British and Irish
experiences and of the Obama administration’s first two years.
Part three, Perspectives, consists of opinion and commentary by higher education leaders and
experts on issues that continue to resonate today. This section begins with the earliest article in the
volume, Clark Kerr’s 1992 reflections on the recent past and the future of American higher education,
the economy, changing demographics, the civic values that were the underpinning of the mid-20th-
century expansion of higher education, and the California experience. This is followed by chapters
byMichael Kirst and David Spence addressing the college readiness of high school graduates and the
restructuring of high school curriculum to strengthen preparation and reduce college remediation.
David Breneman, writing at the end of a decade that was bookended by recessions, places economic
adversity in historical context.
Basic issues around core higher education values are raised by Robert O’Neil’s essay on
academic freedom in the aftermath of September 11, 2001; in an interviewwith Derek Bok on the
commercialization of higher education research; and by David Kirp’s article on the implications of
the declining proportions of tenured and tenure-track college professors. The 1998 interviewwith
University of Phoenix founder John Sperling preceded a decade when Phoenix and other for-profit
higher education institutions emerged as the most rapidly growing sector of American higher
education. Gene Maeroff’s essay on online learning was drawn fromhis widely read book on that topic.
Robert Atwell’s essay articulates explicitly the theme of leadership that informs each section of this
volume. This is followed by Donald Heller’s critique of merit aid addressing the continuing controversy
about the appropriate role of student financial assistance.
The chapter by Joni Finney and Robert Zemsky proposes fundamental curricular restructuring to
improve academic performance and cost effectiveness. Brian Noland’s essay follows by describing the
components of a state policy agenda andWest Virginia’s experience in articulating and implementing
a “public agenda” for higher education. This section concludes with three chapters offering external
perspectives on American higher education. Anne Roark recounts her experience as a parent
negotiating the college admissions process; John Immerwahr summarizes two decades of research on
the evolving views of the American public on colleges and universities; and Anthony Carnevale and
Michelle Melton assess the demands that the knowledge-based global economy place on American
higher education.
National CrossTalk
was established byWilliamTrombley, who came to the National Center as
senior editor after a long and distinguished career in journalism, principally at the
Los Angeles Times
Bill believed that the scholarly and analytic research that public policy centers undertake could be
powerfully augmented by journalistic accounts of important developments and their implications for
policymakers, institutions, students, faculty and others. We agreed at the outset that
National CrossTalk
would not be a house organ or newsletter focused on or promoting the National Center, but a set of
eyes and ears with outstanding journalists independently reporting and interpreting key events and
developments for the National Center and for our readers, and as a forum for policy debate. The quality
and the extensive readership of
National CrossTalk
is primarily the result of Bill Trombley’s editorial
leadership and the talented writers he enlisted. Bill was responsible for the basic organization of this
volume and for selecting the chapters, until his death in 2009. The book was completed by his long-time
colleague, Todd Sallo, who had worked with Bill on this project, and in editing and producing
since its inception. The book’s front cover and page layouts were designed byMott Jordan,
who worked on
National CrossTalk
for many years. Mae Kaven, who also worked on
National CrossTalk
over the years, reviewed the final copy of this book. Heather Jack, another of Bill’s former colleagues,
previously the National Center’s first director of communications, served as project director and also
played a critical role in bringing this volume to completion.
The National Center is grateful to the authors of these chapters and to all those who contributed to
National CrossTalk
over the years. We dedicate this book to the memory of our friend and colleague,
—PatrickM. Callan