Panel: Reassessing and Reexamining the History of Higher Education
This panel will focus on the history of higher education from four distinct perspectives: student debt, for-profit institutions, the impact on urban areas and the change in the mission of public higher education. Four authors of recent work on the higher education system will discuss why this is a moment for the reassessment of higher education. The panel will analyze how cultural forces and the financing of higher education have shaped a range of issues from academic freedom, to family budgets, to higher education’s role in urban communities.
Elizabeth Tandy Shermer (Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara, 2009; B.A. University of Virginia, 2003) is an Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago where she teaches courses in twentieth-century United States history, with an emphasis on in the fields of capitalism, business, labor, political ideas and ideologies, regional development, and urbanization. She has held research fellowships across the US and around the world, including at Cambridge University, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Shermer has written extensively on twentieth-century U.S. political and urban history. Her most recent book is Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in College Debt. She is also the author of Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), editor of Barry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape (University of Arizona Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Nelson Lichtenstein, of The Right and Labor in America: Politics, Ideology, and Imagination (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). Her articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, American Historical Association Perspectives, Bloomberg News, Huffington Post, History News Network, and the Washington Post. Her article “General Motors vs. General Electric,” November 26, 2012, History News Network, was recently named an “Editor’s Pick” for 2012. Shermer was previously the assistant director at the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 2005 to 2009. She was also the Paul Mellon Fellow of American History at the University of Cambridge from 2010 to 2012 where she taught graduate-level American history courses and lectured in the US history survey. Shermer was the recipient of the 2011 Lancaster Dissertation Award in the Humanities and Fine Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the runner-up for the 2011 Council of Graduate Schools/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Arts and Humanities. She was the student Commencement Speaker at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009. Shermer currently serves as co-editor of the book series “American Business, Politics, and Society” at the University of Pennsylvania Press which explores the relationship between governmental institutions and the creation and performance of markets, firms, and industries. She is a contributing editor to Labor: Studies in Working-Class History and a Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry Library, where she co-organizes the seminars for labor history and the history of capitalism.
Cristina Viviana Groeger is an Assistant Professor of History at Lake Forest College. Her research explores the history of work, labor markets, and education in the modern United States. Her first book, The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston (2021) was awarded the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize by Harvard University Press for best first book. Her research has been funded by the National Academy of Education / Spencer Foundation, and published in the History of Education Quarterly, The Journal of Urban History, and The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Davarian L. Baldwin is the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies and founding director of the Smart Cities Lab at Trinity College. He is the author of several books, most recently In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering Our Cities (2021). This work has allowed him to coordinate with activists and community groups across the country around the issues of gentrification, worker’s rights, policing etc. Baldwin serves on the executive committee of Scholars for Social Justice and as a contributing member to Scholars for a New Deal in Higher Education His related commentaries have been featured in numerous outlets from NBC News, PBS, and The History Channel to USAToday, the Washington Post and TIME.
Ellen Schrecker has written extensively about higher education and political repression. Her most recent book is The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s (2021). Among her other books are The Lost Soul of Higher Education: Corporatization, the Assault on Academic Freedom, and the End of the University (2010); Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (1998); The Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History with Documents (1994), Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (1998); and No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities (1986). A retired professor of history at Yeshiva University, has also edited the AAUP’s magazine, Academe, and published several collections of essays. She is currently involved with the African American Policy Forum’s campaign to solicit faculty senate resolutions against the anti-CRT attack on teaching about social and racial justice.
Suzanne Kahn is Managing Director of Research and Policy at the Roosevelt Institute. Previously, Suzanne was Roosevelt’s Director of Education, Jobs, and Worker Power and the Great Democracy Initiative. Her research and writing focus on building a network of robust public goods–for example public higher education–and labor organizations that together can empower workers to counter corporate power in the labor market and public sphere. Prior to joining Roosevelt, Suzanne most recently worked as a research analyst at SEIU 32BJ Suzanne holds a Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University and earned her B.A. from Yale University. Her book, Divorce, American Style, won the American Society for Legal History’s Cromwell Dissertation Prize.