The Center for Studies in Higher Education (the Center) has a distinguished history. The Center was established in 1957 by UC Regental action as the first research unit devoted to the study of higher education policy issues. Its first director, Professor T.R. McConnell, was the former Chancellor of the University of Buffalo and founder of a strong higher education program in the UC Berkeley School of Education. Initial Center foci included the dimensions of student attitudes and orientations, the organization of university systems, and other broad policy issues, including financing of higher education in California. An overarching interest was in the California Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960, drawing national and international visitors to the Center.
The idea of the Center was first discussed when John W. Gardner, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, met with T. R. McConnell shortly after he joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in March 1955. Gardner asked McConnell to identify areas of research in higher education in need of investigation. McConnell did so, and several weeks later Gardner wrote to McConnell informing him that:
The Carnegie Corporation of New York was interested in supporting research on them;
The organization would like him to consider undertaking them at UC Berkeley.
McConnell drew up a planning proposal with the approval of UC President Robert Gordon Sproul, and on September 21, 1955 the two were notified that the Carnegie Corporation of New York would provide a pilot grant and had a general interest in providing funds for proposed studies and projects. With the initial study under way, UC Berkeley Chancellor Clark Kerr visited the Carnegie Corporation in New York to discuss establishing the "Institute of Higher Education."
Illuminating and Enriching Higher Education
The mission of the Center for Studies in Higher Education is to influence higher education by:
Conducting policy relevant research across California, the nation and the world;
Bringing multidisciplinary and multi-cultural perspectives, and promoting social justice;
Fostering a global community of scholars and leaders, promoting policy-oriented discussions;
Teaching future generations of diverse academic executives, scholars, and policy makers; and
Serving as a knowledge hub accessible to scholars, policy makers, and the public.