|About the Book|
On one level, the world of higher education is still, as Matthews puts it, a chunk of the 20th century dropped live and squabbling on the threshold of the 21st. But behind the stately trees and lovely towers a powerful hidden life has taken root,MoreOn one level, the world of higher education is still, as Matthews puts it, a chunk of the 20th century dropped live and squabbling on the threshold of the 21st. But behind the stately trees and lovely towers a powerful hidden life has taken root, as academe is buffeted by the same economic and demographic forces that are drastically reshaping the rest of society. Whats going on in there? And while were at it, what exactly, these days, is college for? Tracking and mapping the academic year, Matthews casts a searchlight in turn on those who learn, those who teach, and those who arrange, especially the makers and managers of money and image whose methods shape higher education more strongly every year. In the process, she goes behind the scenes at every type of school: enormous state universities like Texas or Arizona, where finding French class requires a map and a bus ticket- sleek country-club schools like Vanderbilt or USC, where student allowances can exceed faculty salaries- fiercely specialized colleges like Cal Tech, where students dream in computer languages- struggling trailer-house campuses like South Dakotas Sinte Gleska, the nations first Native American university. Throughout, Matthews keeps in unsparing focus the conflicts between our competing images of what college is supposed to be: show business, rite of passage, profit machine, private planet, gateway to knowledge and power. Irreverent, engrossing, vastly entertaining, and intensely observed, Bright College Years is one veteran journalists (and native daughters) inside scoop on a beloved American institution in the grip of enormous change.