Introduction: “It wasn’t Much of a College”

  • Christine A. Ogren


Nearly five decades ago, David Riesman lamented “institutional homogenization” in higher education in the United States. He presented a “concededly oversimplified picture” of “a snake-like procession—the head of which is often turning back on itself … while the middle part seeks to catch up with where the head once was.” He explained, “The assumption is that every decent university will offer courses in archeology, in Tudor history, or in the sociology of small groups, whether or not there exist topflight people to fill these lines, and even if to get them filled means sacrificing the possibility of building up a uniquely exhilarating department out of offerings not currently regarded as among the blue chips of academia.” In the tail of the snake, Riesman located some denominational colleges, technical schools, and teachers colleges, which he called “colleges only by grace of semantic generosity.”1


Teacher Education Normal School Elite Institution Blue Chip Mass High Education 
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Introduction: “It wasn’t Much of a College”

  1. 1.
    David Riesman, Constraint and Variety in American Higher Education (Garden City, NY: Doubleday [1956] 1958), 21, 43, 61–62Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Paul Woodring, “The Development of Teacher Education,” in Teacher Education: The Seventy-fourth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, ed. Kevin Ryan (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1975), 5Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    William Marshall French and Florence Smith French, College of the Empire State: A Centennial History of The New York State College for Teachers at Albany ([Albany?], 1944), no page numbersGoogle Scholar
  4. 6.
    John I. Goodlad, Teachers for Our Nation’s Schools (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990), 73Google Scholar
  5. See also John I. Goodlad, “Connecting the Present to the Past,” in Places Where Teachers Are Taught, ed. John I. Goodlad, Roger Soder, and Kenneth Sirotnik (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990)Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Robert A. Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), 141Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    John R. Thelin, “Rudolph Rediscovered,” prefatory essay to Frederick Rudolph, The American College and University: A History (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1990), xviiiGoogle Scholar
  8. 10.
    Edward Everett, “An Address by Edward Everett, Governor of Massachusetts, at the Opening of the Normal School at Barre, September 5, 1839,” American Journal of Education 13 (December 1863): 769Google Scholar

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© Christine A. Ogren 2005

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  • Christine A. Ogren

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