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Tracking a Global Academic Revolution

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Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning Volume 42, Number 2, ISSN 0009-1383


A global revolution has been taking place in higher education during the past half-century. In the educators' view, four fundamental and interrelated forces have impelled the current academic revolution: the "massification" of higher education, globalization, the advent of the knowledge society and the importance of research universities within it, and information technology (including distance education). These forces have presented nations with enormous funding challenges and fueled the rise of the private sector and the privatization of public colleges and universities, the accountability movement (including today's imperative to measure the outcomes of higher education), and deep changes in the nature and role of the professoriate. The United States, like other nations, is affected by these global forces; it has also played a key role in creating the revolution. This article follows the tracks of global academic revolution across the world. The authors stress the centrality of the higher education enterprise globally and the need for strong postsecondary institutions to support the contemporary knowledge economy and civic society, as well as to provide the education necessary for the social mobility and economic progress of individuals that is essential to societies across the globe. The authors conclude that understanding the broader role of higher education in a globalized world is the first step to deal constructively with the challenges that loom, chief among which is the uneven distribution of human capital and funds that will allow some individuals and nations to take full advantage of new opportunities while others risk drifting further behind. (Contains 1 figure, 1 table and 15 resources.)


Altbach, P.G., Reisberg, L. & Rumbley, L.E. (2010). Tracking a Global Academic Revolution. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 42(2), 30-39. Retrieved June 3, 2020 from .

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