America’s research universities consistently dominate global rankings but may be entrenched in a model that no longer accomplishes their purposes. With their multiple roles of discovery, teaching, and public service, these institutions represent the gold standard in American higher education, but their evolution since the nineteenth century has been only incremental. While restoring support for public research universities is essential, institutions themselves must reconceptualize their design, especially in terms of scale and accessibility. Admission to elite private institutions typically correlates more with zip codes than SAT scores, but even our nation’s leading public research universities have become increasingly exclusive, which is to say that admissions practices exclude the majority of academically qualified applicants, even while state funding for higher education has plummeted. Join us for a discussion of William B. Dabars’ new book, Designing the New American University, coauthored with Arizona State University president Michael M. Crow. Nicholas B. Dirks, UC Berkeley Chancellor, states in an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education: "Crow and Dabars may not have reinvented the master plan, but they have made an important intervention in the debate about which models work best, for which purposes and constituencies, and how we can support those models at the scale they require, all while maintaining academic rigor and autonomy.“
William B. Dabars is Senior Research Fellow for University Design and Director of Research for the New American University in the Office of the President, Arizona State University. Dabars is also an associate research professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, and an affiliate scholar in the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO). He is the coauthor, with Michael M. Crow, of Designing the New American University (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015). Dabars has served in various research capacities for the University of Southern California, University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Getty Research Institute, one of the operating programs of the J. Paul Getty Trust, and as a consultant for the Getty Conservation Institute and University of Colorado, Boulder. He received a Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles.