Throughout the twentieth century, public universities were established across the United States at a dizzying pace, transforming the scope and purpose of American higher education. Leading the way was California, with its internationally renowned network of public colleges and universities. This book is the first comprehensive history of California's pioneering efforts to create an expansive and high-quality system of public higher education.
The author traces the social, political, and economic forces that established and funded an innovative, uniquely tiered, and geographically dispersed network of public campuses in California. This influential model for higher education, "The California Idea," created an organizational structure that combined the promise of broad access to public higher education with a desire to develop institutions of high academic quality. Following the story from early statehood through to the politics and economic forces that eventually resulted in the 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education, The California Idea and American Higher Education offers a carefully crafted history of public higher education.