Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

William Young, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Michael Mills, Ph.D.

Keywords

Adult, Career, and Higher Education, University, Social compact, University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Abstract

This dissertation explores the nature, applicability and usefulness of social contract theory, and the resulting compact between higher education and society as a way to understand the growth and development of higher education in the United States. The goal is accomplished with an in-depth look at two different universities in the state of Minnesota at four different periods or pivotal points in the history of higher education in the United States. The underlying assumption was that if there is a social compact between higher education and society, traces of its existence would be found in the historical evidence concerning the relationship of these two institutions to society at distinct points in time. The study reaffirms the idea that the social compact between higher education and society is a shared reality, constructed and reconstructed each time that expectations of either party change - it is a social construct. As such, it is always changing and reforming as colleges and universities balance demands from the public and services they provide. The nature of the compact has changed as the nature of Higher Education has changed.

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