ERIC Number: ED505805
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Research Universities: Their Value to Society Extends Well Beyond Research
Berdahl, Robert M.
Association of American Universities
A recent ranking undertaken by Jiao Tong University in Shanghai shows 36 U.S universities among the top 50 universities in the world, with eight of the top 10 in the United States. Author Fareed Zakaria has declared: "[H]igher education is the United States' best industry. In no other field is the United States' advantage so overwhelming. Although China and India are opening new institutions, it is not that easy to create a world-class university out of whole cloth in a few decades." America's lead may be less secure than Zakaria suggests. Neither the University of California, San Diego (ranked 13th) nor the University of California, Santa Barbara (ranked 35th) existed 50 years ago. China, at least, is pouring substantial resources into building a number of world-class research universities, while oil-rich Saudi Arabia is intent on building a research university in the next few years to equal the best universities anywhere. The competitive advantage the United States currently enjoys is obvious, but retaining it cannot be taken for granted; the support from state governments for their "flagship" public universities and the partnership between research universities and the federal government must be renewed and enhanced if America's lead is to be sustained. This paper attempts to describe the importance of research universities to education and science and to society more broadly.
Descriptors: Research Universities, College Role, Scientific Research, Public Policy, Social Sciences, Humanities, Fine Arts, Economic Development, Democracy, Institutional Autonomy, Academic Freedom, Accountability, Government School Relationship, Federal Government
Association of American Universities. 1200 New York Avenue NW Suite 550, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-408-7500; Fax: 202-408-8184; Web site: http://www.aau.edu
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: Association of American Universities, Washington, DC.