The Modern Land-Grant University
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The Modern Land-Grant University


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269 pages

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In an increasingly competitive higher education environment, Americas public universities are seeking ways to differentiate themselves. This book suggests that a hopeful vision of what a university should be lies in a reexamination of the land-grant mission, the common system of values originally set forth in the Morrill Land Grant Acts of 1862 and 1890, which established a new system of practically oriented higher learning across the United States. While hard to define, these values are often expressed by the one hundred or so institutions that currently define themselves as land grants under the three pillars of research, teaching, and engagement/extension.

In order to understand the unique character of a modern land-grant institution, this book focuses especially but not exclusively on the multiple components of a single organization, Oklahoma State University, founded in 1890 and currently enrolling 35,000 students across five campuses. Contributors from across the university focus on what the land-grant mission means to them in their daily endeavors, whether that be crafting the undergraduate academic experience, stimulating research, or engaging with the community through extension activities. The twenty contributions are divided into four parts, exploring in turn the core mission of the modern land-grant university, the university environment, the universitys public value, and its accountability. The volume ends with an epilogue by the editor, which summarizes the values underlying the activities of land-grant institutions.

In a time of uncertainty in higher education, this volume provides a helpful overview of the many different types of value public universities bring to American society. It also offers a powerful vision of a future founded on land-grant ideas that will be inspiring to university administrators and trustees, other educational policymakers, and faculty and staff, especially those fortunate enough to be part of land-grant institutions.



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Date de parution 15 novembre 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781612493367
Langue English

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Copyright 2014 by Purdue University. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
Cataloging-in-Publication data on file at the Library of Congress.
Print ISBN: 978-1-55753-677-8 ePUB ISBN: 978-1-61249-336-7 ePDF ISBN: 978-1-61249-335-0
Robert J. Sternberg
PART I The Core Mission of the Modern Land-Grant University
1 History and Mission,
Charles I. Abramson, W. Stephen Damron, Michael Dicks, Peter M. A. Sherwood
2 Teaching and Learning,
Melanie C. Page, Lucy E. Bailey, Hong Lin, Sue C. Jacobs, Belinda Bruner
3 Research and Other Scholarship,
D. Alan Tree
4 Service, Cooperative Extension, and Community Engagement,
Jorge H. Atiles, Chris Jenkins, Patricia Rayas-Duarte, Randal K. Taylor, Hailin Zhang
PART II The University Environment of the Modern Land-Grant University
5 Diversity,
Sue C. Jacobs, Belinda Bruner, Shelia M. Kennison, Jeff J. Simpson
6 Undergraduate Academic Experience,
Jeremy D. Penn, John D. Hathcoat, Sungah Kim
7 Liberal Studies, Undergraduate Curriculum, and the Land-Grant Idea,
Pamela Martin Fry
8 Graduate Academic Experience,
Jean Van Delinder, Sheryl Ann Tucker
9 Honors Colleges and Competitive Fellowship Programs,
Robert Spurrier, Robert E. Graalman Jr.
10 Campus Life,
Matthew S. Brown, Jovette R. Dew
11 The Library in the Modern Land-Grant University,
Sheila Grant Johnson, Mary A. Larson, Anne M. Prestamo, Bonnie Ann Cain-Wood, M. Robin Leech, Johnny L. Johnson
12 Athletics,
Ry Marcattilio-McCracken, Kyle Tatroult, James R. Knecht, Marilyn Middlebrook
PART III The Public Value of the Modern Land-Grant University
13 Economic Development,
Steven C. Price, Ron D. Duggins, Stephen W. S. McKeever
14 Fostering Human Capital and Human Potential,
J. Shane Robinson, Whitney A. Bailey
15 Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship,
Michael H. Morris, Melanie C. Page, Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, Diane Montgomery
16 Role of the Arts,
Jean Van Delinder, Betty Ann Sisson
17 Wisdom and Ethics,
Eric Reitan, Scott D. Gelfand, R. Steven Harrist
PART IV Accountability of the Modern Land-Grant University
18 Promotion and Tenure,
Tami L. Moore, Timm J. Bliss, Dale R. Fuqua, Brandt C. Gardner
19 Role of Institutional Rankings,
Laura L. B. Barnes, Christie Hawkins
20 Financing and Fiscal Accountability,
Robert E. Dixon, Mary D. Bryans, Robert J. Lofton, Kathy Kamm Elliott, Robert M. Klein, Suzanne McNatt, Jeffrey B. Walters, Carmen E. Tetik, David Loyless, Lisa M. Faulkner
Epilogue: Values Underlying the Activities of Land-Grant Universities,
Robert J. Sternberg
Robert J. Sternberg
During the seemingly countless years when I was a student, then faculty member, then administrator at private universities, land-grant institutions were not front and center in my consciousness. Then I moved to Oklahoma State University as its provost. Having now spent some time in land-grant institutions, I have concluded that they are one of the most precious if not always most highly visible resources this nation has. And that is why I chose to edit this book. I wanted people to know how valuable land-grant institutions are to the future of this country; and I wanted it to be said in the words of those who have lived the experience of a land-grant institution firsthand. Hence, I asked my now former colleagues at Oklahoma State to write about the varied aspects of a land-grant institution so that others could see for themselves just how much value such institutions contribute to our country. In this volume you will discover many, although certainly not all, of the distinctive features of the land-grant university described in some detail.
Our nation needs to broaden what greatness in a university means. At the very least, we need to expand our conception of greatness to a multidimensional notion, not just a notion of unidimensional rankings as appear in certain magazines. Land-grant institutions, contrary to popular belief, are not merely about agricultural development, but rather they are about changing the world in positive, meaningful, and enduring ways. Land-grant institutions perhaps best represent the very core of what greatness means in American society—namely, equal opportunity for all and, through it, the chance to make our society and the world a better place in which to live.
Land-grant institutions are not, for the most part, perceived as being among the most elite universities of the nation, although there are exceptions. Yet, they accomplish some things that are truly extraordinary.
First, whereas the most selective institutions in the country are highly focused on entry value—seeking students with the highest grades and test scores, as well as high school records filled with extracurricular activities—land-grant institutions typically are particularly focused on value added, on producing the future leaders who will make the world a better place. Typically, land-grant institutions willingly and even gladly take students with a wide range of grades and test scores because their mission is to provide access, not to restrict entry. A necessary qualification, of course, is that the students are able to do the work, either upon admission or with remediation and enrichment. Land-grant institutions generally have honors programs, but often the focus is not just on how academically smart students are, but on how much of their smartness they can give back to the world. What is important in a land-grant institution is developing future ethical leaders who will enrich their communities and their societies, in whatever way.
The most selective institutions, of course, are also concerned about adding value. But their admissions numbers, with selectivity rates often in the single digits, may result in the message to many students that they may be good, but not quite good enough. Ratings such as those of U.S. News & World Report reward institutions that reject most applicants and thereby are not fully consistent with the land-grant mission. The game becomes somewhat outlandish: Get lots of applicants so that you can reject them to prove how exclusive you are as an institution. In land-grant institutions, providing access is especially important for students from low-income households whose only chance to go to college may be at a land-grant school. Often, their education and socialization have provided them with only minimal scaffolding for a college education.
Second, graduation from a land-grant institution may not always give students the same level of brand equity as they would obtain at the most selective institutions, although there are many employers who are impressed with the initiative and hard work that so many students from land-grant institutions are prepared to offer. The land-grant diploma is a ticket to improve oneself sufficiently so that later one will be in a position to prove his or her worth. It has proud brand equity. Usually, the student’s initial job placement will be determined by accomplishments more than by the brand equity of the school the student attended. It will be up to the student, in the American tradition, to raise him- or herself by the bootstraps. At some future time, perhaps, members of our society will realize more and more the extraordinary value that may be hidden behind the land-grant diploma.
Third, in admissions, the most selective institutions tend to be organized around a relatively fixed notion of human abilities and skills. Requiring sky-high SATs and ACTs makes sense as an important (although not exclusive) base of admission only if one believes that these tests measure relatively fixed traits that project the future potential of the applicant. If, in contrast, abilities are highly modifiable, then such test scores assess potentials largely at certain intervals in time, and one can look at the college or university as providing a “zone of potential development” to help students use the ability levels they are at as starting points, not just as ending points. From the point of view of the land-grant mission, access provides a way for students to achieve the equal opportunity our society promises. Abilities are indeed modifiable, so the institution can help each student reach the highest level of those abilities—to translate abilities into competencies and competencies into expertise.
Fourth, land-grant institutions tend to have a broad sense of what abilities are. These institutions are about admitting people who will make the difference to the state and the society that was embodied by the principles of the Morrill Act of 1862. Land-grant institutions typically require standardized test scores, but not always at the levels required by elite schools. In our society, in part as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, we place so much emphasis on narrow abilities and knowledge that often students who are the best academically have had little incentive to develop the emotional intelligence, practical intelligence, and wisdom-based skills that are needed to lead the institutions of society. Hence we often find ourselves with leaders educated at elite institutions—and very smart in an SAT sense—who then prove unable to connect with the rest of the population and who create financial and ethical messes because their analytical skills were never adequately complemented by the creative, practical, and wisdom-based skills they need to truly succeed as leaders.
Fifth, evaluation of scholarship and research takes on a particular cast in a land-grant institution. All institutions are, or at least should be, pleased when a scholar publishes in the journals with the best reputation and citation rate. But in many private institutions, it matters little or not at all whether the work has any implications for the betterment of the state and society, not only in the short run, but even in the long run. Sometimes, work that has implications for the betterment of society actually is viewed with suspicion. The result is a kind of curious disconnection between the university and the society. In a land-grant institution, traditional scholarly quality still matters, but work that gives back to society receives especial plaudits. It thus becomes easier for state legislatures and the people of a state to see why research is important to them, not merely to the advancement of individual researchers’ scholarly careers.
Sixth, service and outreach have a have a particular meaning in a land-grant institution. In private institutions, research, teaching, and service all count toward promotion and tenure, but often service is in last place in this triad. In a land-grant institution, service is more integrated into the fabric of teaching and research. Service is the land-grant institution’s reason for being, so service learning, research with potential applications, and outreach are intrinsic to its mission.
Finally, in the land-grant institution, the emphasis on giving back leads to the centrality of ethical leadership and wisdom as the core values of the learning experience. Smartness is valued, but as a means of giving back. Wisdom is the use of one’s smartness and knowledge for a common good through the infusion of positive ethical values, and because the land-grant institution must give back to the state and the country in order to fulfill its mission, its graduates cannot be viewed as truly successful according to the mission of the college or university unless they embody this ideal.
Whereas some of us may think of land-grant institutions as needing to emulate the most elite institutions, perhaps these elite institutions would benefit as much or more from adopting some of the land-grant values. As our society becomes evermore socially and economically stratified and the middle class vanishes, with high correlations between educational opportunities and socioeconomic status, we have an obligation, as a society, to ask whether things are going where we want them to go. What kinds of leaders do we want to develop? Is it possible that the huge emphasis on memory and analytical skills reflected by tests such as the SAT and ACT, and embodied in college admissions processes, is having effects opposite to what we as a society might hope for? Are we producing leaders who are analytically adept but who fail in a wise and emotionally connected way to engage deeply with the crises our society currently is facing? Do we want a society in which we care more about how narrowly smart people are than about how wise and ethical they are? Land-grant institutions in many ways reflect the ideals of the American dream. They have a unique role in helping to achieve that dream that is not being captured by magazine ratings based on narrow criteria that have led our society to a precipice. You will learn about that role as you read this book.
What are some of the future challenges facing land-grant institutions? Although there are many, I believe that three are particularly prominent themes in this book.
First, how will the land-grant institutions of the future be funded? Historically, land-grant universities have relied on the states in which they are located to provide most of their funding. But today, in most cases, only a small fraction of funding comes from the states. In a number of cases, funding from states has reached the single digits with regard to percentages. This means that land-grant universities will have to reconfigure their funding models. Private philanthropy has become much more important. Without active fund-raising, it just will not be possible any more for land-grants to fulfill their missions. Fund-raising is a challenge not only because money is tight almost everywhere, but also because land-grant institutions, for the most part, have not developed a culture of philanthropy. Their alumni and alumnae were not educated as students to think of donations as a lifelong commitment. So establishing a culture of fund-raising will be important for all land-grant institutions moving forward. In addition, private-public partnerships will increase in importance. Universities will have to partner with corporations as well as with nonprofits in joint ventures that serve the mutual interests of the university and the partner organizations. Also, auxiliary ventures, such as licensing of the university brand for various enterprises, will increase in importance. And, technology transfer can and will be an important subsidiary source of revenue. One good invention (e.g., Gatorade) can spin off huge amounts of revenue. Finally, the universities will no longer be able to look at state support as an entitlement, but rather as a benefit to be earned. Hence, good relations with governors and legislators will be more important than ever.
Second, land-grant institutions will be challenged to be true to their missions. More and more, the distinction between land-grant and flagship institutions is becoming blurred. But in general, there can be an important distinction. Originally, the primary distinction in cases where the two institutions were distinct universities was that land-grants focused more on agriculture and mechanical endeavors. This focus has never been left behind. But today, I would argue, the essence of the land-grant is in its mission of service—to its state, but also to the community in which it resides, to the nation, and to the world. If land-grant institutions forget this mission of service, they will lose the essence that makes them special and uniquely valuable as institutions of higher learning. In a time in which leaders are much more likely to fail because of their lack of ethical moorings than because of their lack of educational credentials, servant leadership is more important than ever. Land-grant universities are in a unique position to provide that leadership. But a service mentality does not necessarily translate to higher ratings in magazines and other media. So the land-grant institution needs to balance its desire to serve with its need to be respected for the quality of its academic offerings. Academic excellence is of prime importance in a land-grant institution, but the way it is defined is not necessarily the same as it is in an elite private institution. The land-grant institution needs to find its excellence in service as well as in teaching and research.
Third, land-grant institutions need to cope with increasingly rapid changes in models of delivery for educational services. At the time I am writing this preface, educators are notably unsure of where online education is going. Moreover, the business model that will enable universities to remain solvent in the face of increasing use of online education remains unclear. Most administrators and professors believe that online instruction has an important place in the future of college teaching. But most are equally convinced that online instruction is not an all-around panacea. It seems to work better for some students—notably, those with stronger educational backgrounds—than for others. Moreover, it works better for some subjects—especially those that are more structured—than for others, where in-person class discussion may be key. So land-grant institutions will have to figure out the right blend of different modes of instruction that serve their students well and that, at the same time, enable them to remain financially viable.
Despite all the challenges, arguably there has been no better time to be a student, faculty member, staff member, or administrator at a land-grant institution. The fundamental missions—to do research, teaching, and service—will remain long after one fashion or another has come and gone. Land-grant institutions are in a unique position to fulfill their mission and to educate the future ethical servant leaders of our society in the same way they have since the middle of the 19th century.
Part of this preface was adapted from Sternberg, R. J. (2010, November 29). Defining a great university. Inside Higher Ed .
The Core Mission of the Modern Land-Grant University
History and Mission
Charles I. Abramson, W. Stephen Damron, Michael Dicks, Peter M. A. Sherwood
History of Modern Land-Grant Institutions
University education began in the American Colonies with the founding of a university in Massachusetts in 1636. The Massachusetts Bay Colony established this first university and called it New College. The rationale for the founding of this first university was expressed in the book New England’s First Fruits , published in 1643:
After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government: One of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.
Most of the colonists who had graduated from a university were graduates of the University of Cambridge in England (founded in 1209), and so the instruction model used by New College was based upon the Cambridge model, with a focus on the training of Puritan ministers. The first major donor of an American university, John Harvard, who died of tuberculosis in a suburb of Boston in 1638, gave half of his estate (780 British pounds) to New College, which in 1639 was renamed Harvard University. Harvard was born in England in 1607 and attended Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, graduating in 1632. Emmanuel College had become a center of Puritan thought, and Harvard became a Puritan. He moved to Massachusetts in 1637. Later colonial universities were also renamed to recognize a major donor: Yale (renamed in 1718), named after the donor Elihu Yale; Brown (renamed in 1804), named after the donor Nicholas Brown Jr.; Rutgers (renamed in 1825), named after the donor Colonel Henry Rutgers.
Over the course of the colonial period (1607–1776) another eight universities 1 were established in the American Colonies, and all had a focus on the training of clergy as well as the training of lawyers and doctors. In a major change from the British university practice, these colonial universities established doctorates that were based upon a period of training rather than an extended record of scholarship. Thus, the DD degree became a training degree for ministers, the MD degree became a training degree for physicians, and the DCL degree a training degree for lawyers.
After its independence from Britain, as the new United States experienced increasing numbers of immigrants and a steady expansion to the west, two issues became apparent. First, the skills required to meet the challenges of expanded agriculture and the growth of the Industrial Revolution meant that new courses and degrees were needed in the growing number of higher education institutions. Second, all existing higher education institutions were essentially private institutions, 2 and this meant that people of ability who lacked the financial means were excluded from a university education. It was clear that there needed to be more institutions accessible to the growing population to ensure that people’s talents were developed.
In 1792 Samuel L. Mitchell was appointed professor of natural history, chemistry, agriculture, and other arts at Columbia College in New York. Mitchell has been credited with initiating the plan for the establishment of state agricultural colleges. His ideas, communicated in the New York Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, Arts, and Manufactures, led to President Washington’s message to the second session of the Fourth Congress: “It will not be doubted that, with reference to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary importance…. I have heretofore proposed to this consideration of Congress the expediency of establishing a national university, and also a military academy” (Lowrie & St. Clair Clarke, 1832, p. 31).
The idea of an agricultural college was brought before Congress again in 1817 by Elkanah Watson of the Berkshire Agricultural Society of Massachusetts, who sought to establish a national board of agriculture in accordance with Washington. The bill was defeated overwhelmingly by the House.
The great crop failures of 1837–38 that led to millions of dollars of food imports, coupled with the widespread knowledge of the rapid loss of soil in the Atlantic Seaboard states, put renewed vigor in the state agricultural societies’ call for state schools of agriculture. Maine, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts established private schools of agriculture and manual labor schools where students could perform agricultural work to pay for their education.
By 1850, the free male population of the United States was just under 5.4 million, with roughly 2.4 million of these individuals engaged in agricultural production. For the previous 200 years agricultural practices had been based on land mining, and many of the soil resources were severely depleted. During the expansionary period (1776–1900), new lands were plentiful and soil depletion was not seen as a barrier to growth in food production. In Congress, concern was expressed that continued mining of the soil resources would bring the nation to bankruptcy. To avoid this result would require that farmers have access to the best available education to become knowledgeable in the care of the nation’s most precious resource.
During this period the U.S. Commissioner of Patents urged Congress to give national aid to agricultural education, and the new state of Michigan adopted a constitution that required legislation to establish a state school of agriculture. The People’s College of the State of New York was started in 1853 and led by President Amos Brown, who was a strong advocate of state colleges of agriculture.
In the 35th Congress (1857–59), House Bill Number 2 sought the movement of a portion of federal lands to the states for the sole purpose of establishing agricultural and mechanical colleges. These colleges would focus on providing farmers in each state with an education appropriate for the management of farm resources. A report from the Committee on Public Lands (H.R. 261, April 1858) discussed the need for better educated farmers and the establishment of public institutions for higher learning to accomplish this goal:
Statesmen and sages of all countries, and of all times, have constantly proclaimed the great truth that the cultivation of the soil is the source and the products of agricultural industry, the foundation stone of all national prosperity; that the earth is the very storehouse from which is drawn the prosperity, wealth, and even the existence of every nation.
The increased and constantly increasing benefits resulting from the intelligent application of science to art in the dissemination of knowledge by means of the printing press, in the increased facilities and speed of traveling since the application of steam as a propelling power, and in the lightning speed with which we hold communication with our friends through the telegraph, all tend to demand of this age more attention and encouragement to this great interest, this very musing mother of all other interests and pursuits.
About one-half of the entire free male population of the United States over the age of fifteen years of age are directly engaged in the cultivation of the earth, and a large proportion of the balance are indirectly so employed: yet this large part of our population are notoriously less instructed in those branches of scientific knowledge directly connected with the proper and economical management of their own pursuits than any other class of citizens in their peculiar occupations.
In the professions of law, medicine and divinity 94,515 are employed. To educate these men for the learned professions, 234 colleges are established, endowed by millions of dollars, and two millions of dollars are actually expended every year in the education of 27,000 students.
[We] do not underrate the value of education as acquired in our schools and colleges, nor the value and importance of such institutions to the well-being of society and the country, but submit that while millions are being expended for literary education of the few, something should be spared for the practical education of the many. If the intelligence of the people is the safeguard of our liberties and attachment to the soil of our birth, the guarantee of our continued independence, surely the more extended the education of the people and the more intelligently that soil is cultivated, the safer are our liberties and the stronger the guarantees of our independence. (U.S. House of Representatives, 1858, p. 2)
Jonathan B. Turner, a faculty member in one of the new colleges founded as the nation spread to the west, became a leader in the thinking that led to the formation of land-grant universities. Turner was forced to leave his faculty position because of his abolitionist ideas, and he became a powerful advocate for the idea of a public system of nonsectarian higher education. As more people became involved in the discussion of public higher education, Turner was joined by the more diplomatic Senator Justin Morrill as the discussion continued. Senator Morrill, a Republican from Vermont, introduced a bill in 1857 that would establish a system of public higher education that would be funded by the provision of federal lands to each state.
The Republican Party was the minority party at this time (1857–59) and was in favor of establishing public educational institutions in each state with the primary goal of educating the common rural American. The use of federal resources in this pursuit was thought to be justified, as it would result in a benefit to all of the states.
The majority party viewed the action from a different perspective, arguing that the federal government could not be all things to all people and the use of federal resources to establish state educational institutions would open the door to requests for the use of federal resources to develop other public facilities, such as libraries and hospitals.
If the general government possessed the power to make grants for local purposes, without a consideration, within the States, its action, in that respect, would have no limitation but such as policy or necessity might impose. Every meritorious object would have a right to demand it and to such a refusal could only be justified by inability. Every local object for which local provision is now made, would press for support upon the general government, and would create demands upon it beyond its power to meet, and of necessity it would be driven into the policy which would increase its means. As its expenditures are increased the revenue must be enlarged, and the general government, by adoption of the policy, would levy taxes upon the people of the Union for the support of the local interests of the States. If their expenditures should be unequally apportioned, the injustice of taxing a part for the benefit of others would soon cause the system to be overthrown. If they were equally distributed, it would be but usurpation of the function of the States, unsustained even by the plea of economy. The patronage would be fatal to the independence of the States; with patronage comes the power to control, as consequence follows upon cause. If the policy is embarked in, what shall be its limits? Shall the merit of the object and the ability of the government be the boundaries of its action? To feed the hungry and clothe the naked, if within its competency, would in a moral point of view, be quite as meritorious as any other act which the government could perform; but, if the Constitution had granted power for such purpose, would it be politic for Congress to make provision for the suffering of the poor throughout the Union. If either lands or money could be granted for the purpose designated in this bill, could they not, and ought they not, to be granted to the building of churches, erecting school-houses and keeping up the common schools in States and Territories. If no one meritorious object, why not to another? Or shall the action of Congress in this regard be extended to every useful public and private purpose within the States? If not, where shall the line be drawn? (U.S. House of Representatives, 1858)
The debate ended on April 15, 1858, with a vote against the establishment of the agriculture and mechanical colleges by the Committee on Public Lands. The bill was reintroduced in 1859 to the new Congress and passed both houses of Congress in 1860, but it was vetoed by President James Buchanan. There is some speculation that the movement of this bill through Congress occurred as the growing rift between the North and South and the succession of 11 states from the Union between December 20, 1860, and June 8, 1861, enabled the northern states to move their agriculture agenda forward.
In 1861 the northern Republicans took charge with Abraham Lincoln as president and a Republican Congress. During Lincoln’s term as president, numerous legislative initiatives in support of agriculture were passed. On May 15, 1862, an act to create the Department of Agriculture was signed; on May 20 the Homestead Act; and on July 1 the Pacific Railway Act.
Senator Morrill reintroduced his bill to establish the agriculture and mechanical colleges. The reintroduced bill increased the amount of land to be given by the federal government to the states to 30,000 acres for each member of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate who represented the state at the time of the 1860 census, and it included a provision that the new universities would provide training in military tactics. President Lincoln signed this bill on July 2, 1862, and the Morrill Act of 1862 established the land-grant college system in the United States, providing federal lands to establish an agricultural and mechanical college in every state. The purpose of the colleges was to educate the populace in each state in the proper care and management of the agricultural resources and to assist in developing proper agricultural practices for the many different ecological environments found throughout the United States.
Two states, Michigan and Pennsylvania, embraced the idea of public higher education by using state funds to establish public institutions. The state of Michigan gave 676 (and subsequently 14,000) acres of land to establish, on February 12, 1855, the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, which became federally funded in 1863 via the Morrill Act and is now Michigan State University. The state of Pennsylvania gave initially 200 (and subsequently 10,101) acres of land to establish, on February 22, 1855, the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, which also became federally funded in 1863 via the Morrill Act and is now The Pennsylvania State University.
The Morrill Act of 1862 stated the purpose of the land-grant university as follows:
Provided, That all moneys derived from the sale of the lands aforesaid by the States to which the lands are apportioned, and from the sales of land script hereinbefore provided for, shall be invested in stocks of the United States, or of the States, or some other safe stocks, yielding not less than five per centum upon the par value of said stocks; and that the moneys so invested shall constitute a perpetual fund, the capital of which shall remain forever undiminished, (except so far as may be provided in section fifth of this set,) and the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated, by each State which may take and claim the benefit of this act, to the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in several pursuits and professions in life. (Library of Congress)
It is important to note that the term land-grant university refers to the funding mechanism for these public institutions and does not indicate that these public institutions are solely for agricultural studies. Indeed the reference to “industrial classes” (working classes) as well as “liberal and practical” education in the act stresses the importance placed on providing common people (laborers such as farmers and machinists) with the instruction needed to pursue careers in such fields as they desired. The reference to “several pursuits and professions in life” extends the ideas of the colonial period regarding the church, the law, and medicine to include all activities, particularly those that had evolved in a young and rapidly developing country. The first Morrill Act was followed by a number of important acts which built upon the original idea of the land-grant university.
• The Hatch Act of 1887 , which recognized the need for research programs in agriculture that would assist in the development of practical agricultural production systems adapted to local conditions and the development in the nation. This act led to the establishment of agricultural experiment stations, along with federal funding that has to be matched by state funding.
• The Second Morrill Act of 1890 , which recognized the need to provide education to all Americans, including Americans of all races and ethnic origins. If states had land-grant universities that used race-based admissions policies, separate institutions had to be established for those excluded races and ethnicities. There are 18 institutions that are regarded as 1890 land-grant institutions. In 1994 the 29 American Indian tribal colleges were given land-grant status.
• The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 , which established a system of Cooperative Extension agents throughout the state. This Act did not provide support for tribal colleges or separate institutions that were established under the Second Morrill Act (though these latter institutions do receive 6% of the Act’s funding for the state for Cooperative Extension programs).
There are now 106 land-grant universities, 57 of which offer graduate programs.
The funding received by the land-grant universities has depended upon when they joined the system. The First Morrill Act distributed 17,400,000 acres of federal land. The Second Morrill Act provided cash funding rather than land funding. Some later land-grant universities received a different amount of land. For example, when Oklahoma State University was founded in 1890, Oklahoma was a federal territory and not a state. This institution (then called Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College) received no land funding but did receive some Hatch Act funds. When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the institution received 250,000 acres of federal land.
Mission of the Modern Land-Grant University
The American colonies were quick to establish universities, and on January 1, 1776, 9 of the 16 universities in the British dominions were in the American colonies. However, these 9 universities and the new institutions established after America’s independence were private institutions. The land-grant university system was established with a mission to address the concern that university education was limited to those of significant financial means, excluding many people with considerable talent who had the potential to make valuable contributions to a country which was developing rapidly. The original vision that inspired the First Morrill Act, signed by President Lincoln in 1862, was expressed by one of the proponents of the new university system: “I want to build up a people’s institution, a great free University, eventually open and accessible to the poorest boy in the land, who may come and receive an education practical and suitable for any business or profession in life” (Kentucky University, 1866, p. 43).
Much of this original vision forms the mission of the modern land-grant university. Land-grant universities were never free, but they continue to offer some of the lowest tuition of public universities. The mission continues to stress the following:
• Access . The land-grant university should be open to all people of abilities, irrespective of financial means.
• A training practical and suitable for any business or profession in life . The land-grant university continues to prepare students for any business or profession in life. This is reflected not only in the range of subjects offered but also in a focus on preparing students to be leaders and full participants in their community. Land-grant universities usually offer the full range of professional training. Agriculture and engineering were specifically identified as areas of study in the first land-grant universities, agriculture being especially important in the 19th century because of the large number of people employed in this industry. As economic activities changed and new professions emerged, land-grant universities embraced these new areas and now just about every profession is covered, with the exception of the law and medicine (though a number of land-grant universities have medical schools).
The Hatch Act of 1887 extended the original mission of the land-grant university to include the idea of outreach to the community in the area of agricultural support. A series of agricultural experimental stations were established where agricultural agents provided support to farmers. The modern land-grant university continues to support this mission, thus adding the following additional component to the mission:
• Extension to the community by providing support for activities across the state . Land-grant universities continue to support agriculture in the state with an extensive system of agents across the state. Considerable support from state and federal sources continue to be provided to this key activity. Outreach to the community now occurs in many other areas, including veterinary medicine, engineering, and education. Outreach programs and online courses are available in nearly every academic area of the university. Land-grant universities also usually offer athletic programs that interface the university with the community, the state, and the nation. Land-grant universities also have a growing participation in international cooperation and interactions.
These three components—instruction, scholarship, and extension outreach and service (the triangle of activities)—continue as the core of the mission of the modern land-grant university.
Land-grant universities have a modern mission that embraces the major change in university education that began in the 19th century. The doctoral degree, first offered in divinity in the 13th century, used to be a degree based upon many years of scholarship, and it was only rarely achieved. In Germany the PhD degree became the first degree that provided research training in a relatively short time period, and this degree first became offered in the United States at the end of the 19th century. Many land-grant universities began to offer this degree by the middle of the 20th century, as well as offering master’s degrees for a program of research training. Research degrees became a major part of the program of land-grant universities after the Second World War, and there are now more than 57 land-grant universities that offer doctoral degrees. Therefore one needs to add the following to the mission of the land-grant university:
• A commitment to research, especially research of a practical nature and research that has special benefits for the state and nation . Land-grant universities have a research focus that includes most practical areas, including interfacing with industry and developing new inventions.
• The training of students who will provide the professional, scientific, and academic workforce of the future . This training leads to graduate degrees in a wide range of areas, including PhD programs and master’s degrees in most disciplines, MBA programs in business, EdD degrees in education, MD degrees in land-grant universities with medical schools, and DVM degrees in land-grant universities with veterinary schools. All of the research programs involve graduate students who play a key role in the research activities of the university while preparing for future professions and developing leadership skills.
Land-grant universities have a fine track record of international outreach and exchange, and there is a wide acceptance of the importance of giving all students the international experience that is critical for developing leaders with an informed and balanced view of the world.
Universities have always been the cradles of creativity that have played an essential role in the development of all nations. They have embraced the idea of a universal exchange of knowledge across the world. The land-grant university is the product of a farsighted vision that made major contributions to a young nation at a key stage in its development. The land-grant university continues to serve the nation with a flexible mission that will continue to adapt to future developments. The model of the land-grant university is one that will continue to provide graduates with the practical skills and creative approaches that are the key to a successful future.
1 . Harvard University (1636), The College of William and Mary (the only colonial university with a Royal Charter) (1693), the Collegiate School (now Yale University) (1701), Academy of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) (1740), the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) (1746), King’s College (now Columbia University) (1754), Rhode Island College (now Brown University) (1764), Queen’s College (now Rutgers University) (1766) and Dartmouth College (1769). All these institutions were associated with a particular Christian religious denomination.
2 . The nine colonial universities were all private, though two of the nine (William and Mary College and Rutgers University) later became public universities. Rutgers became a land-grant university in 1864, thus making it the oldest land-grant university, though Kansas State University is the oldest land-grant university established from its beginning as a land-grant university (opening on September 2, 1863).
Kentucky University. (1866). The charter and the other acts of the legislature relating to Kentucky University: Together with the statutes and laws . Lexington, KY: Gazette Printing Company.
Library of Congress. An Act donating public lands to the several states and territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts. United States Statues at Large, 37th Congress, 2nd Session, 504. A century of lawmaking for a new nation: U.S. congressional documents and debates, 1774-1875 . Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Lowrie, W., & St. Clair Clarke, M. (Eds.). (1832). Legislative and Executive of the Congress of the United States, from the First Session of the First to the Third Session of the Thirteenth Congress, inclusive: Commencing March 3, 1789 and ending March 3, 1815 (Vol. I) . Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton.
U.S. House of Representatives. (1858, April 15). 35th Congress, 1st Session, Report No. 261.
Teaching and Learning
Melanie C. Page, Lucy E. Bailey, Hong Lin, Sue C. Jacobs, Belinda Bruner
What is the purpose of a university? During the 19th century in the United States, debate over purpose resulted in the creation of land-grant universities. As outlined more specifically in Chapter 1 , the purpose of the land-grant universities was to offer “practical education of the industrial classes”—in essence, a university for the people. Bonnen (1998) argued that land-grant universities were created to capture the idea of “the social role of the university.” In other words, a university should have a broader purpose than simply existing to benefit a particular group, increasing knowledge for knowledge’s sake, or generating profits. A fundamental purpose of a land-grant university is to educate the state’s populace in line with its needs. While this educational vision should play out slightly differently in each state, some core elements of the philosophy and practice of teaching in relation to the land-grant mission should be common to all.
Access and equity are key aspects of the land-grant mission to provide a liberal and relevant education to the nation’s citizens. Diverse land-grant institutions today retain the shared philosophy that higher education must be accessible to the “common man” for the good of society. Historically, this mission has meant using teaching as a vehicle to disseminate research findings to improve citizens’ daily lives, and critical attention to content and pedagogy that serves diverse educational needs. Indeed, part of the impetus for Morrill’s landmark legislation was that classical education in private contexts for the elite few could not meet the needs of workers, teachers, and farmers in an increasingly industrialized society.
Convictions regarding what should constitute an appropriate land-grant education, who it should serve, and how to deliver it have shifted over time as institutions have responded to contemporary funding realities, complex social, research, and technological developments, and the ever changing needs of the states and communities they serve. For example, the original Morrill Act did not take into consideration the education of African Americans, and nearly 30 years passed before states required primarily White institutions (PWIs) to admit Black students or to fund the development of Black land-grant institutions. Educational content and pedagogy continue to shift as the land-grant system expands to different parts of the world (e.g., Guam, the Virgin Islands) and tribal colleges and universities.
Common Core to Serve Diverse Citizens and Offer Access and Availability
Teaching students for living and working in a democracy means ensuring institutional, geographical, and financial access for underrepresented groups, creating the educational climate and conditions that support diverse students’ success, and ensuring the development and delivery of curricula that serves the social, racial, socioeconomic, and linguistic demographics of our communities. Shifting state needs and demographics requires institutions to remain reflexive about teaching methods and committed to using empirical research to sculpt teaching strategies. In recent years, striving to prepare students for their civic roles has involved layered institutional efforts that include establishing mentoring programs and living-learning communities to support first-generation students or students of color in primarily White institutions, forming university-community and K–12 partnerships, and incorporating such pedagogical approaches as culturally relevant teaching into teacher education programs.
Innovative developments in educational technologies and distance learning have created new forms of extension and outreach that can complement the land-grant commitment to increasing educational access and disseminating research. The development of regional extension centers is intended to deliver relevant research more efficiently. Some land-grant universities participate in large-scale efforts to deliver free online courses to thousands of people beyond the borders of their state. The growth of online teaching methods reflects profound social changes in communication, human interaction, and workforce practices even as they raise difficult questions about how best to educate citizens and manage information. While some laud technological developments because they ostensibly increase access, others suggest that the face-to-face instruction that occurs daily on college campuses provides irreplaceable opportunities for role modeling, networking, hands-on experience, and interaction key to developing educated citizens (Sternberg, 2012). Effective teaching involves organized efforts at the university, departmental, classroom, and individual levels. Research-based initiatives, such as providing faculty development opportunities, revising content and delivery mechanisms to reflect our technological age, and preparing K–12 teachers for teaching in the public schools, are integral to teaching in contemporary universities.
Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring
Sixty percent of college students attend land-grant universities, more than any other type of college in the nation (Glossner, 2012). Undergraduate students are at the very heart and core of most land-grant institutions. Although the mission of many of the land-grant universities has expanded over time to include graduate students, a primary focus of many land-grants is on their undergraduate students. Students often change dramatically over the four or more years of the undergraduate experience, so understanding how to best educate the students requires appreciating some of the ways students develop in college (Baxter Magolda, 2001; Chickering, 1969; Chickering & Reisser, 1993) and the changing needs of contemporary students. Instruction, curriculum, and advising should be responsive to the diversity of student development trajectories. For traditional students who enter college at age 18, four or more undergraduate years represent a sizeable period of growth in which they experience an array of social, intellectual, and developmental changes. Older students, who enter college with more life experience and different roles and needs, often choose to pursue academic work at times of transition. The undergraduate years can also be a time of considerable change, growth, and development (Choa & Good, 2004) for nontraditional students, who in fact may lag behind traditional students in development (Macari, Maples, & D’Andrea, 2005). Students in varied life circumstances may be negotiating jobs, families, and economic challenges that shape their educational access and plans. Some communities offer concurrent enrollment opportunities for high school students to better facilitate the transition to higher education. While all institutions must take student development into consideration, serving students with diverse developmental and social needs is a core philosophical and institutional principle at land-grant universities.
Student development occurs along many dimensions. College instructors are particularly attuned to cognitive changes, such as those schematized by Perry (1970), but cognitive changes occur in a broader context of interpersonal and intrapersonal development (Baxter Magolda, 2001; Jones & McEwen, 2000). Within these latter domains, students are often working to resolve multiple identities, some of which are visible and some of which are not (Abes, Jones, & McEwen, 2007; LaFromboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993). In addition to accomplishing basic developmental tasks, students are also working to resolve their career identities (Bubany, Krieshok, Black, & McKay, 2008; Skorikov, 2007). Part of the responsibility of land-grant institutions is to recognize that in addition to their civic roles, students are preparing for a range of postbaccalaureate roles, including trade and agricultural occupations, careers in their discipline, careers that require postbaccalaureate training, or even for jobs that do not yet exist (Vondracek, 2001). Thus, our approach to working with students should reflect and support these diverse possibilities.
Undergraduate teaching practices must include a variety of tools and techniques to support the learning of an increasingly diverse student population. Our institutions reflect the diversity of our communities in terms of race, gender, sexuality, religion, ethics, lifestyle orientation, class, multiculturalism, and abilities and disabilities, as well as serve more first-generation students, veterans, nontraditional students, international students, and students with different learning styles and technological literacy. Accordingly, higher education must use teaching techniques appropriate for specific disciplines while also responding to the needs of diverse millennial students preparing to become global citizens (Krutky, 2008; Stanley, 2006) by offering evening, weekend, and short-term courses; incorporating social media and active-learning techniques in lecture classrooms; simulations; web-based learning; and study-abroad opportunities.
Promoting inclusive education in classrooms and faculty development is consistent with the land-grant commitment to access and equity. Institutions must (1) design inclusive curricula; (2) develop and explore faculty, staff, and student multicultural awareness; and (3) develop a variety of instructional approaches (Stanley, 2006). An example of a student-faculty collaboration to promote dialogue and awareness is the Difficult Dialogue Initiative at Oklahoma State University, which includes workshops, panel discussions, conferences, a book club, and field trips to equip faculty and students with specific strategies to facilitate diversity-related conversations.
Student preparation for college-level work is another area land-grant institutions must consider in their teaching practices and plans. How should institutions craft individualized support mechanisms? What supplemental curricula should institutions provide? Do institutions need to diversify existing classes or majors? What is the most useful general education curriculum? How can higher education collaborate with high schools more effectively to ensure successful transitions? Since students are also far more likely to transfer institutions than they were in the past, how can our curriculum design transfer across these institutions in service to the students? In addition to these broader institutional decisions, faculty and staff must be absolutely committed to helping students successfully complete an education that prepares them for their civic and economic futures. This includes providing support for students uncertain about which major to pursue, whose career plans are inchoate, and/ or whose background and interests are diverse. Effective advising requires a holistic approach that considers life circumstances, student interests and plans, and academics. A variety of models can contribute to sound advising, including undergraduate peer mentoring, campus advising and career centers, and targeted support for underrepresented groups. The students of the 21st century will need to be creative and innovative and have experience working in diverse teams at a local and global level. They will also need guidance in becoming the change agents of tomorrow. It is conceivable that, with a commitment or recommitment (see Kellogg Commission, 2001) to the very core of the land-grant mission—the education of students for the betterment of their communities—that the percentage of students who graduate and are prepared for a variety of social and economic roles will increase dramatically.
Students’ integration into their university, college, and departmental communities can contribute to the previously mentioned success (Littleford et al., 2009). Educators can enrich the scaffolding of students’ developing knowledge in their field by providing students with opportunities to become part of larger professional networks. Helping students experience their education as more than an assortment of classes promotes links between their major course of study and their social and emotional experiences. Student organizations centered around majors, interests, or identities are informal teaching spaces that provide opportunities for students to socialize, seek peer mentorship, pursue common goals and support each other, and celebrate one another’s achievements. Public universities are increasingly promoting study abroad opportunities, service learning, internships, and a variety of other active learning techniques to apply classroom knowledge to concrete daily practices. Such experiences permit students to put their growing knowledge to work in nonacademic contexts, which often leads to successful career development (Lent et al., 2002).
While the value of personal contact with faculty members is widely recognized, many students have surprisingly little such contact outside of their course work. In a College Senior Survey, Saenz and Barrera (2007) note that 72% of students reported talking with faculty outside of class or during office hours less than 1 hour per week. As undergraduate students make up a core constituent of the land-grant university, faculty and staff should strategize how to increase opportunities for interaction.
Of the various ways to encourage interaction between students and faculty members (e.g., bag lunches, socials, film series, receptions, and so forth), an activity that affords one of the richest opportunities for weaving students into the social fabric of the discipline and practicing skills they will apply in later years is participating in teaching and research with a faculty mentor. Research projects can be structured to provide roles for students at varying levels of cognitive, social, and emotional development, and a student who is an apprentice in a research project may, a few semesters later, be ready to take a lead role in research. Participating in research with faculty guidance introduces students to their broader disciplines and offers hands-on experience, mentorship, and skill development on the path to professional attainment.
One of the hallmarks of a land-grant university can and should be strong undergraduate research programs dedicated to addressing pressing issues facing both the state and the nation. For example, universities can offer institutionalized programs that range from research scholarships for freshmen, to research grants for juniors and seniors, to assistance with Fulbright applications for postgraduate study (and many programs in-between). While students can volunteer to work with a faculty member, or arrange to earn course credit for research work, the availability of monetary incentives frees up time our students might otherwise have to spend working in supplemental jobs. Oklahoma State University recently institutionalized intensive research participation by offering students the opportunity to pursue a Research Scholar designation on their transcript, and many universities publish an undergraduate research journal. While not all students want to design and conduct their own research project or publish a paper, the kind of role modeling and mentorship that makes such achievements possible represents the most valuable advising that faculty members can offer. Indeed, such advising involves faculty members’ sharing their own enthusiasms, practices, and ideas and working within institutions that place value and emphasis on undergraduate students.
Preparation of Teachers in K–12 Education
The responsibility to prepare teachers, counselors, administrators, and other school personnel and to deliver and fund public education rests primarily with the states, and this is a key service that land-grant institutions offer their communities. Teacher certification programs, continuing education for professional educators, university and community partnerships, and K–12 outreach programs are all part of this mission. Colleges of education offer focused certification programs in an array of areas: agricultural education, administration, art education, English as a second language, science, math, social studies, special education, and health education, among others, as well as specialist training in aviation, speech-language pathology, library media, and reading. Depending on the state, obtaining certification to teach in the public schools requires both specialized course work in a subject area and passing competency examinations. University teacher education programs thus require faculty who are subject matter specialists versed in effective pedagogical practices and able to support future teachers’ professional development with content knowledge, classroom management techniques, and hands-on experience in K–12 classrooms. In addition, teacher education should expose future teachers to broad historical, economic, and social developments in education, provide them opportunities to consider the purpose of education in a democracy, and allow them to experience a wide range of pedagogical theories and approaches to teaching (e.g., cognitive, critical, inclusive, nonbiased).
Teacher education programs are currently undergoing a revitalization and re-conceptualization (Darling-Hammond, 2006) as they strive to respond to teacher shortages and retirements, federal mandates and accreditation requirements, and new state standards while preparing future teachers to serve diverse communities. Land-grant universities have always made contributions to educational innovation. Educators recognize that we increasingly need creative and critical pedagogies, skilled mathematics and science educators, and professionals agile with the use of contemporary technology to respond to local and global issues. As one example, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities has created the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) to increase the numbers, diversity, and quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers ( ). Another priority has been creating greater access for students of color to choose teaching as a profession to ensure that our teachers better represent our communities. Historically, the majority of teachers in the United States have been White, native English speakers. Colleges of education are preparing teachers for increasingly diverse student populations, virtual and online classrooms, field and service learning, and global engagement. Many programs have experimented with increasing outreach in specific school and community contexts so that future teachers have more opportunities to learn in authentic K–12 spaces more closely aligned with their future roles. University-based tutoring programs provide services to community children and learning opportunities for preservice teachers. Colleges of education often include evening, weekend, summer, and distance-learning courses to increase access.
Our communities face problems of economic development, violence, overpopulation, access to clean water, famine, global warming, among many others, and new challenges develop at every turn. The possibilities in medical and technological advances, space and ocean exploration, and building sustainable communities necessitate strong teachers and strong K–12 schools. In considering the skills needed for the next century, 21st Century Schools ( ) suggests that in addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, contemporary students need to learn collaboration skills, how to lead by influence, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written communication skills, how to access and analyze information, and to follow their curiosity and use their imagination.
Teacher education programs continue to revise practices and curricula in anticipation of changing global, national, and local needs. In line with the land-grant spirit, Darling-Hammond (2006) emphasizes the need for teacher education programs to become more comprehensive, complex, and firmly situated in their communities. Teachers have long recognized that public schools serve an array of important functions beyond content knowledge: providing meals to students, physical education, after-school programs, and opportunities to socialize and collaborate. In addition to a more integrated and comprehensive curriculum, K–12 education must teach critical thinking skills, become learner centered, and use project-based pedagogies to prepare students for a wide range of future endeavors. Students must understand how the content of their courses connects to their larger civic, social, and economic roles. Strong teacher education programs rely on research to improve their students’ learning, to inform curriculum and policy, and to empower teachers to teach their students to be change agents. Today’s kindergartners will retire around the year 2054. What world will we endow and inspire them to imagine and create?
Graduate Teaching and Mentoring
Graduate students in land-grant universities represent a population of future teachers, engineers, administrators, STEM researchers, lawyers, medical and other health care professionals, MBAs, entrepreneurs, farmers, ranchers, extension educators, and higher education faculty members, among many others. While graduate students have many needs that are similar to those of undergraduates (e.g., course work, mentoring), they often have unique professional development needs as well. Mentoring with graduate students can become more collaborative and comprehensive than with students at the undergraduate level; in fact, research suggests that doctoral advisors play a key role in the progress and retention of graduate students (Ferreira, 2006). Graduate students undergo growth and transformation across the 1 to 3 years of their master’s program and 3 to 10 years of their doctoral program.
Master’s degrees tend to be more applied than doctoral degrees and thus to better equip students for employment in their communities. They often develop from the perceived needs of those communities. Doctoral programs typically involve a far greater focus on research skills. In teaching graduate level courses, especially those at the doctoral level, one expects the students to display a greater level of critical thinking and analysis than do undergraduates. This increased expectation of student abilities translates into a greater need for instructors of graduate students to provide depth and breadth in course work. For example, a statistics teacher might mention degrees of freedom to undergraduates but would be expected to explain to graduate students how to calculate, use, and interpret them; a finance professor might explain swaps in financial markets to undergraduates, yet expect graduate students to list the pros and cons of various swaps and predict which might be good investment bets in the future; an education professor might introduce undergraduate students to different learning styles while having graduate students identify, compare, contrast, and critique them. Thus, typically, the expectations on the part of the faculty and the students increase in each level of education.
Another aspect of graduate student teaching is mentoring students so that they become effective teachers and providing opportunities to teach their own course or laboratory. This applied training will serve their future endeavors and provides a key resource that sustains the teaching mission of contemporary land-grant universities. There are also several other models of doctoral training. For example, in response to community needs, Oklahoma State University recently started a PhD for Executives program. This 3-year, intensive program involves current high-level executives who mark each month of online course work with an on-campus meeting involving 3 days of intensive face-to-face course work and discussions; students also complete a research-based dissertation. Intensive short-term, weekend, and evening courses help communities respond to different constituents’ needs. Other programs that serve community needs include teaching certifications for the public schools, 5-year BA/MS degrees, a 1-year Masters in Entrepreneurship (MSE), dual doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO)/MBA degrees, and dual MSE/DVM degrees, among others. It is incumbent upon land-grant institutions to examine all of their graduate programs for relevance and to make adjustments as needed.
In a recent Council of Graduate Schools report, the authors suggest that each program examine its graduate production to determine optimal sizes for each graduate program at a university. The report also suggests that programs increase their focus on nonacademic careers and career training, especially as nearly half of the graduates surveyed in one study found employment outside academia (Bell, 2012). Finally, they recommend building better academia-industry partnerships. Land-grant universities should have a head start on all of these goals, thus making graduate training at these institutions more timely and relevant since the institutions were formed to contribute intellectually to the industries of a newly industrial economy. As we move into and through the technology age into the innovation age, offering graduate degrees and programs that are of continual relevance to society becomes increasingly important.
Land-Grant Institutions and Preparing Future Faculty
The spirit of land-grant institutions to provide educational access and promote values of democracy, service, creativity, and leadership is particularly suited to programs designed to prepare new faculty for service in higher education. Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) programs, begun by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools, establish partnerships between colleges and universities to develop and sustain university-wide and departmental programs for doctoral students that build the next generation of faculty. Supported initially by major grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Atlantic Philanthropies, and the National Science Foundation, PFF programs have been a major educational resource for clusters involving more than 200 colleges and universities and thousands of graduate students since 1993.
Built in the spirit of partnership and cooperation, PFF programs help transform the way doctoral programs prepare aspiring faculty members for their careers, including opportunities to understand the kinds of responsibilities faculty members actually have in varied institutions. PFF’s focus is on the full range of faculty roles and responsibilities subsumed by the terms teaching, research , and service . A PFF program provides doctoral students with the opportunities to observe and experience faculty responsibilities at a variety of academic institutions with varying missions, diverse student bodies, and different expectations for faculty.
Many land-grant institutions have PFF programs, whether administered through graduate colleges or discipline based. At least nine institutions were involved in the initial phases (1992–97) of developing PFF programs, including Cornell University, Howard University, Florida State University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Texas at Austin ( ). In 2012 there were a number of different models for these programs. Psychology-based programs were purposefully organized at two land-grant universities, the University of Georgia and Oklahoma State University, to partner with differing types of colleges and universities in each state following the land-grant model ( ). Programs may cross colleges and historic disciplinary boundaries and should emphasize the values of diversity, service to their respective states and universities, and engagement with students. For example, at Oklahoma State University one to three PFF fellows have partnered with a mentor at Langston University (a historically Black university and land-grant institution) for the past 10 years. Fellows have taught classes, led research teams with undergraduate students, and mentored undergraduates on applying to graduate school, taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations), and different career options. At the same time, the PFF fellows increased their knowledge of different institutional cultures and values.
Thus, such PFF programs offer firsthand experience to prepare graduate students to become future faculty researchers as well as excellent teachers of the increasing numbers of first- generation, nontraditional, and previously educationally marginalized students, who also provide service to their communities, state, nation, and world. Programs can also provide graduate students with role models for how to be a faculty member in an institution of higher learning, where they can continue to serve their own communities.
Faculty Development
There is an ideal voluntary symbiosis between faculty and students at a land-grant university in that, at the very core of who they are as professionals, land-grant faculty members believe that students are the reason they are here and they build the pieces of their career (research, teaching, service, outreach) around the students. In order to provide the best service to the students and the people of their state, faculty must continually seek to refresh, renew, and remain abreast of best practices.
The concept of faculty development in the United States can be traced back to the 1950s. Definitions range from development of the faculty member as a whole person (Crow, Milton, Moomaw, & O’Connell, 1976) to activities focused only on improving teaching and research skills (Ebel & McKeachie, 1985), to a view of development as a strategy to maintain vitality rather than a specific skill set (Centra, 1985). The increasing complexity of faculty roles necessitates that land-grant institutions remain attuned to innovations that will nourish this key resource.
Guiding Goals of Faculty Development
Berquist and Phillips (1975) described three components of faculty development—instructional, personal, and organizational—which relate to improving teaching skills, personal growth, and the broader institutional support environment. These components fluctuated as the primary goals of faculty development evolved in the past few decades. A recent study of faculty development developers identified the top three goals for their faculty development programs as creating or sustaining a culture of teaching excellence, responding to individual faculty members’ needs, and advancing new initiatives in teaching and learning (Sorcinelli, Austin, Eddy, & Beach, 2006). The findings indicated a prevalent new goal in this era to create, foster, and sustain an institutional culture of teaching excellence. This new goal requires faculty development programs to play a proactive institutional role in creating a long-term thriving environment for teaching and learning. Such a climate requires extensive support from academic administrators, especially academic deans and department heads, faculty, and an institutional unit, to promote effective teaching and learning programming.
Faculty Development Practices and Challenges
Having a single, centralized teaching center is the most common way for an institution to implement faculty development practices. Although practices vary across institutions with different missions and resources, the most common faculty development practice is to provide workshops and training sessions. Other practices include, but are not limited to, providing individual consultation, new faculty orientation, syllabus review, course observation, webinars, mentoring, teaching assistant and adjunct training, research on teaching, teaching awards, and grants (Sorcinelli et al., 2006). The expansion of educational technology degree programs, continuing education, and online teaching certification provide the support mechanisms for higher education and K–12 teaching professionals.
It is worth noting that increasing faculty development opportunities does not ensure the effectiveness of the above-mentioned practices. Faculty development developers identified several critical factors for ensuring the success of faculty development practices: (1) support from academic deans and department heads; (2) recognition and reward for good teaching; and (3) institutionalized teaching centers that offer various faculty development opportunities (Wright & O’Neil, 1995). More recently, Sorcinelli and colleagues (2006) identified five pressing challenges in implementing effective practices: (1) balancing multiple roles and learning new roles; (2) teaching for student-centered learning, assessing student outcomes, and teaching underprepared students; (3) integrating technology strategically into teaching and learning environments; (4) training and supporting part-time and adjunct faculty; and (5) increasing effectiveness of departmental leadership.
These challenges are infused with pressing questions that need sustained institutional attention. Which faculty development programs, services, and resources should land-grant universities prioritize in their teaching mission? How do faculty development developers engage faculty in professional training given their diverse professional pressures from research, teaching, services, tenure, post-tenure review, grant-seeking, advising, mentoring, and professional associations? How can academic deans and department heads inspire commitment, energy, and rewards for their faculty for participating in professional development? What systematic institutional approaches might be taken to address the challenges? How can institutions best serve the part-time faculty and graduate students that contribute to their teaching mission? Which directions should faculty development move in the next decade? There are no easy answers to these questions. Faculty development developers, institutional administrators, and faculty need to determine their goals and utilize research to prioritize their resources and offer the best practices (Gillespie & Robertson, 2010; Sorcinelli et al., 2006).
Effective Faculty Development Practices in Land-Grant Institutions
A key institutional responsibility is assisting faculty in finding an appropriate balance among the multiple roles they must perform. Faculty development developers need to identify a framework to guide their practices in line with their community and state needs. There is a call for a renewed commitment to developing faculty to have a sense of wholeness (Sorcinelli et al., 2006). This point of view aligns with Crow et al.’s (1976) focus on total development. At the institutional level, leaders such as department heads, deans, and provosts need to pay thoughtful attention to student learning, faculty priorities, the structure of the academic career, and the reward system. In particular, rewarding good teaching with resources and prestige is critical in fostering an institutional culture of professional development (Gillespie & Robertson, 2010; Sorcinelli et al., 2006).
The second effective faculty development practice in land-grant institutions is to emphasize the complementary relationship of teaching and research. The majority of land-grant institutions have teaching centers. However, if faculty members perceive that instructional enhancement efforts compete with their research efforts, the promotion of instructional excellence can be unsuccessful (Clark, Corcoran, & Lewis, 1986; Gillespie & Robertson, 2010). Rather, part of the faculty development framework in land-grant institutions should be promoting teaching research and disciplinary research collaboration among faculty. Faculty members in research-intensive universities are more likely to receive resources when their teaching improvement projects are associated with research priorities (Cook & Marincovich, 2010). Teaching-related grants, support groups for grant-seeking, recognition of teaching-related research, among others, appeal to faculty as they allow them to engage in learning opportunities that broaden their understanding of a topic and extend their related peer networking, teaching, and research skills. Overall, when the mission, management, and framework of teaching centers align with the realities of land-grant university life, faculty development can promote a strong culture of teaching excellence.
Another effective faculty development practice in land-grant institutions is to work with departments to provide discipline-based communities and teaching enhancement that serves the particular needs, priorities, and culture of that program and community. Some faculty members may be more responsive to customized programs at the departmental level. With this understanding, faculty development programs should work with departments to target faculty members’ specific needs. In doing so, faculty development developers can engage faculty to design tailored programs and services that fit to disciplinary cultures and engage faculty members who otherwise will never work with their teaching centers (Cook & Marincovich, 2010).
A less visible layer in the teaching mission in land-grant institutions is the need for leadership development for department heads. Given that administrators should drive and support many curricular reforms, mentoring programs, and professional development, it is critical to provide preparation, training, and ongoing peer networking opportunities to leaders as a strategic institutional investment (Sorcinelli et al., 2006). Department leaders need to be cognizant of how to address curricular issues and write teaching evaluations for faculty in their annual reviews. Rarely do department chairs benefit from a systematic institutional approach to help them transition into their roles. For this reason, the faculty development developers can collaborate with department heads to create tailored rubrics for course observations, manage teaching issues, and write effective teaching evaluations. Although no uniform standards can be created to train and develop department heads across departments, leadership trainings, mentoring programs, and networking opportunities can equip department heads with valuable resources to enhance the development of their faculty (Baron, 2003).
From the 1950s to the 2000s, faculty development has evolved with changing goals, practices, and challenges. These efforts include institutional commitment, alignment with research and teaching, collaboration with departments to build discipline-based communities, and leadership development for faculty and department heads.
Community Outreach (Extension Activities) and Service Activities Related to Teaching
Since the successful development of land-grant institutions required persuading rural communities that the services of the institutions were needed, it seems fitting that the U.S. government and land-grant institutions should continuously model service through outreach. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established the Cooperative Extension Service (CES); within this service, a land-grant institution and the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) work together to discern the needs of the community and to make use of findings by initiating programs to help extend education to those not directly involved with the educational system.
In addition to the formal structure of CES, another way that the land-grant university reaches into the community is through university extension, which may also be known as continuing education and outreach. Continuing education can include degree credit courses taken by nontraditional students, nondegree career training, workforce training, and formal personal enrichment courses (both on campus and online). The idea behind continuing education is to encourage and grow lifelong learners (Rogers, 2005). Continuing education courses today are much broader than originally offered, target adult learners, and include a mix of on-campus, community, in-person, and online formats offering credit and noncredit courses. One example of specialized noncredit courses is those offered by the 116 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes. OLLIs offer short courses to senior citizens in all 50 states and are often located at land-grant universities, including the University of Arizona, Auburn University, the University of California, Berkeley, Iowa State University, Oklahoma State University, The Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Hawaii, among others.
Cornell University (n.d., “Continuing Education”) summarizes a vision of continuing education at land-grant universities, including “the distribution of printed and online materials, free public presentations in local communities and online, education vacation excursions and courses, distance-learning workshops and conferences, and formal executive-education and other professional-development courses and training sessions.” Continuing education opportunities can be very broad, but at its core, continuing education must serve the needs of the people of that state. What do they need? What do they want to learn? How do they want to learn it?
In terms of extension, outreach, and community service, the current call is for land-grant universities to become engaged institutions (Kellogg Commission, 2001). An engaged institution puts its knowledge and expertise to work on the problems its community members face. Thus, extension and outreach may take very different forms depending on the locality and the needs of the local peoples (Alperovitz, Dubb, & Howard, 2008).
At the very core of this mission is the belief that what type of education is provided is mutually decided upon by the university and the community—that it is a two-way street (Scott, 2012). McDowell (2001) argued over a decade ago that land-grant institutions will become irrelevant unless they engage with their communities. As such, college and university administrators and faculty should become part of the general community as insiders in a position to get things done with the community. Rather than allowing the institution and/or government to retain its reputation as an outsider, representatives of the university should focus on what the community needs and bring their expertise while working with the community to determine ways in which the institution is prepared to help, and has already helped, to further the goals of the community. Such an approach can move the process forward quickly and efficiently to address community problems and concerns. It is only at this point that the university can become fully engaged with and part of the community.
Land-grant universities face a myriad of challenges as they navigate the 21st century. Reductions in funding, competing demands on faculty time, for-profit universities, eroding public support, and more students needing and wanting an education than we can serve are just a few of the issues we face (Kellogg Commission, 2001). In good old-fashioned land-grant style, we do not despair at these problems, but instead pull together to elucidate solutions. We try them out, we refine them, and we share what works with our communities and our colleagues. It will quite literally take a village to move us forward. Land-grant universities must accomplish their goals with a collection of efforts from different university entities and must remain responsive to community needs. The unique American invention of the land-grant university is at a crossroads. Do we follow the original mission of educating the state’s populace, or do we pursue a different agenda? We would argue that the land-grant universities can and should continue to fill their niche, and while we should build strong research capacity, that capacity must be tied to the needs of the state we serve, as well as the needs of the nation and the world. These are challenging goals to achieve. More importantly, land-grant institutions must renew their commitment to excellent teaching at the undergraduate, graduate, and community outreach levels. The Kellogg Commission (2001) encouraged us to “return to our roots.” By this the commission means that we absolutely must become student-centered learning communities in which all entities are allowed to create the best possible future for themselves and others.
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Research and Other Scholarship
D. Alan Tree
Research has been deliberately included as a fundamental part of the land-grant tradition 1 to the tremendous benefit of the nation. Every college, university, and technical institute designated as a land-grant institution 2 under the Morrill Act of 1862 has a significant research program. Many of the land-grant-intuitions are considered to be among the best research universities in the world. 3 Since the Morrill Act allowed new or existing institutions to be designated as a land-grant college, some of the land-grant intuitions and their research programs predate the Morrill Act. In the remainder, the establishment of a research program was a priority early phase activity.
In 1885, Norman J. Colman became the first commissioner of agriculture (now secretary of agriculture). Colman was determined to create federally funded agricultural research stations in every state (Campbell, 1995). The forces that led to the creation of the land-grant universities were still strong in 1885 and now included the land-grant colleges who could speak for themselves. Working in unison, they persuaded Congress to pass the Hatch Act 4 of 1887. The Hatch Act clearly charged the agricultural experiment stations to engage in original research and to verify experiments. With only a few exceptions, the agricultural experiment stations were located at the land-grant colleges.
The Hatch Act had a deep effect on the land-grant colleges. Of greatest significance was that research became a core function at nearly every land-grant college. In addition the funding was steady, which allowed the agricultural colleges to conduct the long-term research often needed to develop new varieties of crops.
The Second Morrill Act was enacted in 1890 primarily to assure African Americans access to higher education. However, the Second Morrill Act demonstrates that by 1890 Congress assumed that research programs would be a fundamental part of the land-grant institutions. Colleges created under the Second Morrill Act were to give an annual report on “experiments made under the direction of any experiment stations, with their cost and results” (Fifty-first Congress of the United States, 1890).
Just over a century later, in 1994, Congress recognized the “special educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives” by passing the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act of 1994, also known as the Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA). The IASA granted land-grant status to 28 tribal colleges and authorized direct assistance for “research, evaluation and data collection” (One Hundred and Third Congress of the United States at the Second Session, 1994).
Although research was not specifically mentioned in the Morrill Act, the Hatch Act left no doubt that Congress intended research to be a core activity at the land-grant institutions. The Second Morrill Act and the IASA reinforced that research is a core land-grant function.
Research as Innovation
Governments around the world (European Commission, 2010) recognize that prosperity and security in a modern society depend on the fundamental understanding of science, technological breakthroughs (National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2007), and the availability of a highly trained workforce (National Academy of Engineering, 2004). In his Nobel Prize–winning research, 5 Dr. Richard Solow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 6 (MIT) showed that economic growth depends not just on labor and capital assets, but increasingly on innovation. In his Nobel lecture, Professor Solow explained that “Gross output per hour of work in the U.S. economy doubled between 1909 and 1949; and some seven-eighths of that increase could be attributed to ‘technical change in the broadest sense’ and only the remaining eighth could be attributed to conventional increase in capital intensity” (Solow, 1987).
University-based research (at all types of institutions) has been an integral part of driving technological change in the United States (Mansfield, 1991). Since 1980, U.S. universities have spun off 5,700 new companies and issued 13,000 licenses for technologies developed in their labs. In 2006, 700 new products were introduced into the market based at least in part on a university-owned patent (Cole, 2009). Table 3.1 provides examples 7 of research developments at land-grant universities, which include contributions to agriculture, medicine, communications, and entertainment. Consideration of Table 3.1 leads one to conclude that research at the land-grant institutions has wide-ranging and personal effects.
TABLE 3.1 Selected Research Developments at Land-Grant Universities
Research Development Land-Grant University Year
Botulism antitoxin Illinois 1919
Simultaneous sound and motion pictures Illinois 1922
Discovery and isolation of vitamin E California 1922
Pap smear test Cornell 1927
Development of no-till farming Nebraska 1938
Disease resistant strawberries UC Davis 1940
First binary electronic computer Iowa State 1942
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Minnesota 1942
R-values to quantify insulation materials Penn State 1945
Theory of superconductivity Illinois 1957
Ground fault interrupter Berkeley 1961
Gallium arsenide laser a MIT 1962
CAT scan UCLA 1963
Heart-assist pump Penn State 1976
Bulk aseptic food processing Purdue 1979
Netscape Illinois 1993
Nicotine patch UCLA 1991
Gopher Internet retrieval system Minnesota 1991
Lyme disease vaccine Cornell 1994
Isolation of human embryonic stem cells Wisconsin 1998
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) Illinois 2001
a Simultaneously developed at IBM and GE, and made possible CD and DVD players. Source: Cole (2009).
Research as Teaching
The research enterprise at U.S. universities also produces a steady stream of well-trained researchers for industry, government, and nonprofits. Each graduate student (or often undergraduate student) works on a research problem, for which there is no known solution, under the direction of an experienced researcher. As a condition for graduating, each student presents his or her solution in a book-length document called a thesis or dissertation that documents the solution along with the data and a logical argument demonstrating that the solution is correct and fits within the context of previous discoveries. By working under the direction of an established professor, students have the opportunity to engage in world-class research and emerge from the university prepared to conduct their own research. Some of the students will replenish the faculty ranks (44%), but the majority will leave academia to make contributions in industry (43%) and other places (13%) such as government and private nonprofit organizations (Cole, 2009).
Streptomycin: An Example of University-Based Research
An example of the university-based research process can be seen in the discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin at Rutgers, 8 the land-grant university of New Jersey, as documented by Hotchkiss (2003) and Kingston (2004). In 1940, four developments converged in the mind of Professor Selman Waksman that convinced him that a treatment for tuberculosis could be found among the bacteria that grow in soil. The first development was that Waksman had been engaged in the fundamental study of soil bacteria for three decades. As an undergraduate at Rutgers, he developed an interest in actinomycetes, a type of bacteria found in soils. He completed his BS and MS degrees at Rutgers and received a PhD from Berkeley 9 in 1918. Upon graduation he returned to the Department of Soil Chemistry and Bacteriology at Rutgers as a faculty member. His laboratory performed the fundamental and foundational scientific work of isolating, classifying, and describing the various strains of actinomycetes and the interactions of actinomycetes with other organisms (Waksman, 1927).
The second key development occurred in the lab of a former student, René Dubos. In 1939, Dubos and a colleague, Rollin Hotchkiss, isolated compounds produced by naturally occurring bacteria and showed that they could inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Although the newly discovered compounds proved too toxic for human therapies, their work (Hotchkiss & Dubos, 1940) had a significant impact on Waksman’s thinking. He had noted the ability of some strains of soil bacteria to inhibit the growth of nearby bacteria and fungi, which he had understood in the context of an organism gaining an advantage in the competition with other organisms for resources. Now he began to consider the possibility of a human therapy for bacterial infections based on his observations.
The two final developments occurred in 1940. World War II was spreading and Florey and Chain published their work on penicillin. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928 was the result of a chance contamination of an agar plate and Fleming’s procrastinating the washing of the plate until after he returned from a vacation. As a highly trained bacteriologist, Fleming realized that he had seen something extraordinary on his agar plate. However, the full importance of penicillin was not realized until 1940, when Howard Florey and Ernst Chain of Oxford University published their work on the chemotherapeutic applications of penicillin (Chain et al., 1940). Upon reading the paper by Florey and Chain, Waksman turned his attention to finding an effective chemotherapy for tuberculosis among the soil bacteria in his lab.
In contrast to Fleming’s discovery, the work in Waksman’s lab was a tedious, time-consuming process based on protocols that he had developed over years of research on bacteria. Strains of bacteria were systematically isolated and evaluated under a variety of conditions. From the strains that showed promise, the chemical species that inhibited the growth of disease organisms were separated and purified. The work required a team of graduate students working for several years. 10 In 1943 one of Waksman’s students, Albert Schatz, had the good fortune to be the first person to isolate streptomycin, the most promising of the compounds discovered. In order to confirm the positive results in his lab, Waksman provided a sample to colleagues at the Mayo Clinic, who confirmed its efficacy against tuberculosis. For his work, Waksman received the Nobel Prize in 1952, 1 of 81 that have been awarded to faculty at land-grant institutions.
Merck and Company had been sponsoring the work in Waksman’s lab and under a 1939 agreement was entitled to the intellectual property from any discovery. In an act of extreme generosity, Merck gave the intellectual property rights to Rutgers, retaining only a nonexclusive license to produce and market streptomycin. A significant portion of the proceeds from streptomycin were used to fund Rutgers’ Waksman Institute of Microbiology. Similar institutes have been established in France, Italy, and Japan from the proceeds of sales in those countries.
The discovery of streptomycin illustrates the key elements of university-based research. The foundation of any line of research is always the underlying fundamental science and the results of previous work. Faculty members are responsible to conceive of new lines of research, build a research group, and secure funding from sources that are external to their college or university. Many of the results are negative or of little interest. However, over time, persistent research efforts led by well-qualified faculty lead to valuable new discoveries.
The discussion that follows is an examination of how research is developed in the land-grant schools, its magnitude and impact, its relationship to the other core activities of these institutions, and its continuing importance. The picture that emerges is that research conducted at land-grant universities is a national asset that has benefited every American and that will help assure our prosperity and security in the coming century.
Origins of Research at Land-Grant Institutions
The history of higher education in America 11 and the land-grant movement leading to the Morrill Act of 1862 have been well documented. 12 Ross (1942) has argued that Justin Morrill took ideas from many sources to craft his land-grant bill. Beginning in 1855, Morrill could draw on the examples of Michigan 13 and Pennsylvania, 14 where agricultural schools had been founded.
The most immediate, initial challenge for the leadership of the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan (then commonly called the Michigan Agricultural College) was that the college was dedicated to teaching something (the science of agriculture) that did not exist. Although some scientists, most notably Antoine Lavoisier (Cannon, 1963) had given a passing interest to agriculture, in 1855 there was not a well-developed agricultural science with an organized literature (Cochrane, 1993). 15 Joseph R. Williams, the first president of MAC, recognized the difficulty when he said:
We have no guides, no precedents. We have to mark out the Course of Studies and the whole discipline and policy to be followed in the administration of the Institution. There are numerous Agricultural Schools in Europe, but while inspection would afford vital suggestions, they afford us no model. (Eddy, 1957, p. 17)
The Model Farm
To address the problem, the Michigan Agricultural College established what was called the model farm . John C. Holmes, a leading figure in the founding of the Michigan Agricultural College, described the model farm as a place “upon which to teach practical Agriculture; apply science to practice; test theories; try experiments; test new plants and implements” (Widder, 2005, p. 27). However, the view of the model farm as a scientific enterprise was controversial. Some saw the model farm solely as a place where young men would be taught best practices that they could take home to show their family and neighbors. The faculty of Michigan Agricultural College understood how deliberate experimentation would lead to the discovery of underlying principles and theories that could be applied to practical problems. The issue was settled by an act of the Michigan legislature in 1860 that stated, “All agricultural operations on the farm shall be carried on experimentally, and for the instruction of the students, and with a view to the improvement of the science of agriculture in the State of Michigan” (Widder, 2005, p. 42).
Although their vision was not universally shared or appreciated, the founders of the Michigan Agricultural College instilled research in the core of the institution. On March 18, 1863, Michigan Agricultural College was designated Michigan’s land-grant institution. In 1888, the model farm became part of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, which was recently renamed Michigan State University AgBioResearch. Notable research achievements of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station include the development of hybrid corn (one of the most important agricultural developments of all time) and homogenized milk. In 2011, AgBioResearch reported 246 full-time-equivalent faculty and staff working on projects in food and health, enhanced profitability, environmental stewardship, secure food and fiber systems, and family and community vitality. The 2011 operating budget for AgBioResearch was over $110 million (Michigan State AgBioResearch, 2011).
The research enterprise at Michigan State University has grown well beyond agriculture to include a comprehensive array of academic disciplines. In 2009, the total research expenditures of Michigan State were $373 million, the 50th largest among U.S. universities. Michigan State is now one of the world’s foremost research universities.
With the model farm, research began at the land-grant colleges. With the Hatch Act, Second Morrill Act, and IASA, Congress deliberately made research a core activity at nearly every land-grant institution.
American Graduate Degree Programs
In 1862 American colleges were well established but just beginning a transformation that would make the United States the world leader in research and higher education. The blending of the undergraduate program with its roots in English higher education and the German style of graduate study is the framework of U.S. higher education. Since democratic principles require higher education to be widely offered in the United States, large numbers of students are admitted to undergraduate study. However, the German style of graduate education, which lends itself to the scholarship of discovery, is ill-suited for large numbers of students. Upon graduation, those who have the desire and the aptitude for advanced studies are admitted into the graduate programs. This framework evolved in the United States at exactly the same time that the land-grant colleges were being designated and growing. A leader in this development was Charles W. Elliot (Christensen & Eyring, 2011), the president of Harvard from 1869 to 1909. Elliot’s reforms included the expansion of graduate programs. He encouraged sabbatical leaves, academic freedom, up or out tenure, elective classes, and the hiring of graduate students to teach rudimentary classes. All of these features facilitated university-based research.
Elliot’s 16 ideas have been imported into the land-grant institutions, many of which have become leaders in graduate education. The first American PhD degree (in chemistry) was granted in 1861 at Yale, 17 just one year before the Morrill Act (Pierson, 1983). Cornell 18 became a leader in engineering graduate education by granting MS and PhD degrees in civil engineering in 1870 and 1872, respectively. Cornell also pioneered American PhD degree programs in electrical engineering and industrial engineering (Cornell University Graduate School, 2012).
Prior to 1861, when Yale granted its first PhD, Americans who wished to study for a PhD had to travel to Europe. A well-known example is Evert Everett, who served as a congressman, senator, governor of Massachusetts, ambassador to England, secretary of state, president of Harvard, and featured speaker at the dedication of the national cemetery at Gettysburg. Everett did his undergraduate work at Harvard but is widely believed to have been the first US citizen to receive a doctorate in Germany when he received a PhD from Göttingen University in 1819.
Graduate degree programs have a profound effect on university-based research. PhD students allow their professors to leverage their time and efforts. Typically the professor has the idea and vision of what could be discovered, which he or she shares with the students. After training the students in research techniques, professors can assign the graduate students time-consuming and tedious tasks such as data collection and literature review. Thereby, the professors are free to focus on the interpretation of the data and to plan the progression of the research. This is the German method of graduate education. MIT and Johns Hopkins University were founded in 1865 and 1876, respectively, with the primary purpose of providing a German style of graduate education in America. As leaders in research and graduate education, the land-grant institutions have made significant contributions to the evolution of the American system of higher education.
Research Takes Hold and Grows
By the late 19th century, the land-grant colleges were growing into comprehensive universities. The research activities expanded in breadth to reflect the wide varieties of academic disciplines that were beginning to appear. The first expansion of research at land-grant institutions beyond agriculture was into home economics. The first experimental kitchen was established at Iowa State 19 in 1877. Engineering research experiment stations began to appear in the early 20th century. The first was at Illinois 20 in 1903 (Parcher, 1988). Following the pattern of the agricultural experiment stations, the engineering experiment stations began to publish bulletins. Early bulletins at Illinois were highly applied and involved subjects such as coal, tool steel, drainage, welding, transformers, steam power, cement, and timber. However, there were notable exceptions, including a 1912 bulletin on the electron theory of magnetism (E. H. Williams, 1912) and a bulletin in 1919 on corona discharge (Warner & Kunz, 1919).
The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 expanded the role of the agricultural experiment stations to include extension work. Under extension programs, the agricultural experiment stations extended their teaching role to include agriculturalists who were not resident at the college. The Smith-Lever Act also required the states to provide matching funding. The combination of state and federal research funding allowed the United States to emerge as the world leader in agricultural research.
An Early Research Success
An early research success at a land-grant institution occurred at the University of Wisconsin 21 and has been described by Russell (1943). Prior to 1890, the tests to determine the fat content of milk were difficult and time-consuming. There was a temptation on the part of the farmer to adulterate his milk by adding water and a tendency on the part of dairies to underpay for high-quality milk. In 1890, Dr. Stephen Babcock took on the problem. Babcock was a chemist who had degrees from Tufts 22 and Cornell in the United States. His PhD was in organic chemistry from the University of Göttingen. During his career, Babcock made fundamental scientific contributions that led to the discovery of vitamin A and enzymes that are key in industrial scale production of cheese. His scientific description of milk was a landmark in dairy science. Drawing on his experience with milk and his background in chemistry, Babcock perfected a simple test to quantify the amount of fat in milk. In Babcock’s test, a small volume of milk was mixed in a test tube with concentrated sulfuric acid and amyl alcohol, and centrifuged at 50 °C. Under these conditions, everything in the milk except for the fat dissolved. The fat was left floating on the top of the liquid, where it could be readily quantified. The Babcock test made honest commerce in milk possible. Since the Babcock test was inexpensive and required little training, cattle breeding operations could keep records on individual cows, which led to the development of cattle lines with previously unimagined rates of milk fat production. The Babcock test is another example of a far-reaching, practical development from research at a land-grant institution.
Private Sources of Research Funding
Geiger (2004) has shown that by the early part of the 20th century, American research had become entrenched in the universities. Of the 1,000 leading American scientists in 1906, 596 were located at a university. However, the leading scientists tended to be concentrated at 15 to 20 leading research universities, including the land-grant institutions: California, MIT, Yale, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Cornell, and Illinois. These institutions aggressively recruited the leading professors, established policies to balance their workload between teaching and research, and provided labs in order to become leading research institutions. One hundred years later these same institutions remain among the nation’s leading research universities.
As research became a priority for U.S. universities in the latter years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, the expenses for the science and engineering departments began to increase dramatically (Geiger, 2004). The federal government continued to support the agricultural experiment stations, but the expansion of research programs beyond agriculture was highly dependent on funding from private sources. The growth in the need for research funding coincided with a remarkable growth in the U.S. economy. Between the Civil War and the Great Depression, great wealth was accumulated in the hands of a relatively small number of Americans such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Fortunately for the universities, these men and others of great means took an interest in university-based research. In 1901, Author Hadley, president of Yale, remarked that “the western state universities and independent research institutes have bid up salaries,” and the only solution was that “the research of a university should be as far as possible endowed research” (Geiger, 2004, p. 85). Jacob Gould Schurman, president of Cornell, proposed to endow seven academic departments with $1 million to $3 million each. Although, Schurman fell short of his goal, Cornell did receive a gift of $500,000 from August Heckscher, a wealthy mining executive, to fund the Heckscher Research Fund in 1911 (Geiger, 2004). By 1931, 132 private foundations provided research grants to universities totaling $52.5 million. The Great Depression took a toll on the ability of the private foundations to support research, but in 1940 there were 162 foundations that were still able to contribute $40.4 million to university research. This compares to $12 million in federal sponsorship of university based research in 1935 (Rosenberg & Nelson, 1994).
By 1930, American research universities had achieved preeminence in many fields, including physics, chemistry, and medicine (Cole, 2009). The strength of research at U.S. universities was further increased by the influx of talent from Europe beginning in 1933. The economic conditions in the United States were difficult, but for many the conditions of the Great Depression were preferable to the social conditions in Europe. Well-known scientists who moved to land-grant universities to avoid persecution in Europe included Hans Bethe and Peter Debye (Cornell), Maurice Goldhaber (Illinois), Lothar Nordheim (Purdue), Eugene Rabinowitz (MIT), and Emilio Sergrè (California). With the success of U.S. research under private funding and the effects of the Great Depression, there was no compelling argument for greatly expanding federal funding for university-based research programs until the outbreak of World War II.
The Foundation for Greater Federal Research Funding
The foundation for a major expansion of federally sponsored research was laid during World War I, but it would not have an impact until World War II. The National Research Council (NRC) was formed under the National Academy of Sciences in 1916. The goal of the NRC was to organize the American research community to address the national needs in waging World War I. The first Chairman of the NRC was George Hale, an astronomer and one the best-connected scientists of his time. He rapidly assembled leadership from the ranks of university and industry labs. The NRC drafted scientists and engineers to work in Washington, London, or close to the front line in France. In the short time (by research standards) between its founding in 1916 and the cessation of hostilities in 1918, the NRC had made significant contributions to artillery ranging, communications, submarine detection, explosives, and unconventional weapons.
World War I motivated the creation of two other important federal agencies, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Acting on the advice of Thomas Edison, the U.S. Navy sought and received funding for the NRL in 1916. However, demands of the war effort prevented construction until 1920. Over the next two decades the NRL grew and was making important contributions to physical optics, chemistry, metallurgy, mechanics and electricity, and internal communications when World War II broke out.
In 1915, the NACA 23 was established. Initially the NACA consisted of 12 unpaid appointees with a budget of just $5,000. In time, however, the NACA acquired the funding necessary to sponsor significant research activities. Working closely with the Army Air Force, commercial companies, and occasionally with university labs, the NACA made important discoveries and developments that restored the United States to world leadership in aeronautics.
University Research Labs Respond to World War II
Among those who conducted work under the NRC during World War I was a young engineering professor from Tufts named Vannevar 24 Bush. By 1940, Bush was president of the Carnegie Foundation and the most highly respected engineer in the United States. 25 In May of 1940, Bush asked Franklin Delano (a trustee of the Carnegie Institute and President Roosevelt’s uncle) to arrange a meeting with President Roosevelt. Bush, who had never met the president, was granted 15 minutes late in the afternoon of June 12, 1940. Bush carried a one-page memo outlining the creation of the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC). The NDRC was to complement the military’s research efforts by organizing civilian researchers. Roosevelt approved Bush’s plan by writing “OK-FDR” on the memo and returning it to Bush. The decision was formalized in an executive order dated June 28, 1940. Not wanting to wait for a government office, Bush began operations immediately in the headquarters of the Carnegie Foundation. A year later, Congress approved and funded the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), under which the NDRC was subsumed, and President Roosevelt named Bush to head the OSRD (Zachary, 1997).
Bush was familiar with the delays that had been experienced in the construction of the NRL and resisted advice to establish large centralized labs. Instead, he elected to institute a system of contracted research. Federally contracted research was not Bush’s invention. In 1918, the Public Health Service 26 (PHS) pioneered the concept of federally contracted research when it made grants to 25 institutions. Contracted research proved to be a highly effective means of accessing the talent in academic labs. Over the course of the war, the OSRD sponsored more than 2,500 contracts worth $536 million. Successes included deployable radar, proximity fuses, and the process to mass produce penicillin. By the end of the war, OSRD research showed that the university lab was as important to the war effort as was the factory (Zachary, 1997).
The Endless Frontier
As World War II was nearing an end, President Roosevelt realized (as did many others) that the security and prosperity of the United States depended on continued leadership in research and development. In response to the president’s request, Bush submitted a report in 1945, Science—The Endless Frontier , in which he proposed the creation of a new federal science agency to replace the OSRD. In response, the National Science Foundation (NSF) was created in 1950 (Graham & Diamond, 1997). In the five years between the end of World War II and the creation of the NSF, other parts of the federal government, most notably the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health (Geiger, 2004), moved ahead with research agendas that included contracted research at the universities.
Federal funding for research increased dramatically after World War II. Between 1935 and 1953, federal sponsorship of research at universities increased from $12 million to $138 million dollars. In 2009, total research and development expenditures at all U.S. universities reached $54.9 billion, of which $32.6 billion came from the federal government. Before World War II, academic research was dominated by about 15 to 20 universities, including a handful of the land-grant universities. The increase in federal funding since World War II has allowed a much larger and more diverse set of institutions to establish major research programs. As of 2009, 132 universities, including 57 with a land-grant heritage, had annual research expenditures of over $100 million (National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, 2012).
Research at Modern Land-Grant Universities
Funding research programs and the control of the resulting intellectual property have been and continue to be major issues for modern land-grant universities.
Conducting research, especially world-class research, requires funding. University faculty members are expected to secure most, if not all, of the funding required to support their research from outside their institution. Often this involves making a written proposal of 30 to 60 pages to a government agency or potential industrial partner. Public sector funding is usually subjected to intense review by a panel of peers in the field. Many proposals that are deemed to be of the highest quality, or fundable , are returned to the authors unfunded due to a lack of available funds. Funding requests to industry are usually subject to an equally rigorous process to determine the probable return on the investment. Neither process is foolproof, but in general only the very best ideas receive funding. Accounting standards require each university to carefully track the funds. Consequently, research expenditures are a readily available (although not perfect) measure of research activity. Of the 10 U.S. universities with the largest research and development expenditures in 2009, 6 have a land-grant heritage; and of the 50 largest, 23 have a land-grant heritage.
There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. 27 In fiscal year 2009, the NSF listed 697, or less than one-fifth of all U.S. colleges and universities, that reported any annual research expenditures (National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, 2012). Table 3.2 shows how the research expenditures are distributed with respect to land-grant status. The total expenditures in 2009 were $54.9 billion. As shown in Table 3.2 , the NSF report listed 98 institutions, or 14.0% of the total, that can claim heritage under one of the land-grant acts. However, the land-grant schools accounted for $21.9 billion, or 39.9%, of the total research expenditures. As a group the land-grant institutions are engaged in research to a much greater degree than U.S. colleges and universities in general.
TABLE 3.2 Research Expenditures With Respect to Land Status Fiscal Year 2009
Type of Institution Number Systems or Campuses Percentage of Systems or Campuses Research Expenditures, Billion $ Percentage of Research Expenditures
All Reporting Expenditures 697   54.9  
First Morrill Act 79 11.3 21.7 39.5
Second Morrill Act 16 2.3 0.21 0.4
IASA a 3 0.4 0.002 0.004
Land-Grant Total 98 14.0 21.9 39.9
a Improving America’s Schools Act, aka the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act of 1994.
Source: Academic Research and Development Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2009, National Science Foundation, Table 27. R&D Expenditures at Universities and Colleges, Ranked by FY 2009 R&D Expenditures, available at
In 2009, the NSF reported 16 of the 1890 land-grant institutions with research expenditures ranging from $0.505 million to $28.5 million. All 16 of these institutions have made significant research contributions. The E (Kika) de la Garza Institute at Langston University, for example, has made world-leading contributions in the husbandry of small ruminants and is a valued partner with Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma in the Oklahoma Transportation Center. The NSF also reported that three Native American land-grant universities (Haskell Indian Nations University, Salish Kootenai College, and Sinte Gleska University) had significant research expenditures in 2009 totaling $2.17 million.
Intellectual Property
Universities and researchers have always understood the commercial potential of their research work. However, the current effort of universities to commercialize their research is a more recent development. Although industry picked up on Professor Babcock’s work, neither he nor Wisconsin ever patented the Babcock test. Babcock freely offered his technology to the people of Wisconsin. His generosity nearly backfired when Babcock test kits that had been manufactured to poor quality standards came on the market and gave poor results. Only after Babcock persuaded reputable companies to produce quality kits was confidence restored in the Babcock test. Professor Babcock’s experience is an important lesson on why universities need to control the technologies developed in their labs.
The experience of other researchers before World War II showed indifference or hostility toward any attempt to patent their discoveries. Dr. T. Brailsford Robertson joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1905 and became one of the most highly respected biochemists of the early 20th century. Beginning in 1913, he published a series of papers on his discovery of tethelin, a pituitary gland extract that he linked to human growth and wound healing. However, Johns Hopkins rejected his candidacy for the chair of its physiology department because he had attempted to patent his work on tethelin. The Rockefeller Foundation sponsored work in the lab of Professor Herbert Evans (also of Berkeley), who was the first to isolate the human growth hormone and vitamin E. When Dr. Evans showed an interest in obtaining a patent for his work, the Rockefeller Foundation indicated that it would withdraw its funding if he followed through with this plan (Cole, 2009). As late as 1936, Oklahoma A&M College (today Oklahoma State University) allowed an Oklahoma City businessman to list himself as the inventor of the parking meter even though the development work had been performed on the Stillwater campus by Professor H. G. Thuesen and a student, George Hale.
Other researchers attempted a middle approach in which their work was patented and licensed, but the royalties were used to further the research of their colleagues. In the early years of the 20th century, Professor Frederick G. Cottrell of the University of California, Berkeley, developed technologies that greatly reduced pollution from smokestacks. Professor Cottrell founded the Research Corporation, a nonprofit foundation, in 1912 to receive income from his patents and the patents of like-minded researchers. The Research Corporation funded some extremely important projects, including Robert Goddard’s experiments with rockets and Ernest Lawrence’s development of the cyclotron. At Wisconsin, Professor Harry Steenbock patented a process to fortify milk and food with vitamin D. In 1925, Professor Steenbock used the royalties from the patents on his process to help create the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). WARF made its first research grant in 1928. From 1934 through the end of the Great Depression, WARF was able to provide Wisconsin’s research fund between $120,000 and $160,000 per year (Geiger, 2004).
The Bayh-Dole Act
Prior to 1980, the U.S. government was presumed to own the intellectual property (IP) from research it sponsored at universities. However, in the 1960s only 5% of the patents held by the federal government were under license (Cole, 2009). The University of Wisconsin (through WARF) became a leader in negotiating institutional patent agreements (IPAs) with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) in 1968 and next with the NSF in 1973. Other research universities followed. This resulted in a patchwork of regulations for technologies developed at universities under federal funding. Congress addressed the issue through the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which created a uniform policy for all federal funding at universities.
Under the Bayh-Dole Act, a university or small business (not the researchers) controls the IP developed in its labs under federal sponsorship. The university may license the IP in exchange for a royalty or for equity in a commercial venture based on the new technology. As a result of the Bayh-Dole Act, all universities with a significant research program have established a technology transfer office and require faculty, as a condition of employment, to disclose new inventions. In return, most universities agree to split any royalties between the general university fund and the discoverer’s lab. Universities view their technology transfer offices as a service to the faculty, a potential income source, and (with increasing importance) a response to calls for universities to be more directly involved in economic development.
There is general agreement in government and academia that the Bayh-Dole model has worked well for government-sponsored research (Mowery, Nelson, Sampat, & Ziedonis, 2001). Congress and the research universities had hoped that the Bayh-Dole Act would serve as a model for all sponsored research. Industry, however, has not readily accepted the idea that the universities should own the IP from industry-sponsored research. Industry has contented it is well (if not better) positioned to bring the technologies developed under its sponsorship to market, which partially undercuts the rationale for the Bayh-Dole Act. Another issue of concern to industry is the desire of the universities to publish research results in a timely manner. Industry often feels that early publication degrades the commercial value of the discoveries. Both sides have shown an interest in finding creative solutions to the IP and publication issues. Companies and universities were able to reach agreement on $3.2 billion worth of research in 2009. However, a universal solution such as the Bayh-Dole Act does not exist for university/industry research partnerships.
The NSF has attempted to address the problem through the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) program. In an I/UCRC, one or more universities will partner with a consortium of companies. The NSF reviews and validates the quality of the proposed research and provides a small amount of funding. The companies must each pledge annual consortium dues and their technical expertise to the I/UCRC. A typical consortium consists of 6 to 20 member companies, which allows the member companies to leverage their research funds against the dues of the other members and the NSF funding.
One of the most successful I/UCRCs has been the Web Handling Research Center (WHRC) at Oklahoma State University. A web is a thin, flexible material such as paper, plastic film, cloth, or metal foil. Webs are manufactured, stored, and transported as large rolls that can be up to 5 meters long and 2 meters in diameter and can weigh more than 1,000 kilograms. In a web handling operation, the rolls may be unwound, treated in some manner, transported, and/or rewound. Web handling machines are large and powerful, and they operate at high speeds. Small maladjustments can damage or break the web, resulting in lost production time and a waste of materials. In the early 1980s, Professor Karl N. Reid realized that a very large number of consumer and industrial products begin as a web. Regardless of the materials being handled or the final product, all web handling operations rely on the same underlying engineering principles.
In 1986, Dr. Reid founded the WHRC as an I/UCRC with 16 industry sponsors. Each sponsor pledged to send technical representatives to semiannual meetings where the common technical problems have been identified and cast as research projects. Each company applies the discoveries in accordance with its own business practices. Under the IP agreement, Oklahoma State owns the IP, but the sponsors have exclusive use of new developments for a year before Oklahoma State will consider publishing the research results. The WHRC has operated continuously since its founding. Feedback from the sponsors indicates that each has received substantial benefit from membership in the WHRC. The faculty members involved in the WHRC have been able to publish their work and progress though the academic ranks. The students have perhaps been the greatest beneficiaries of the WHRC, which creates the opportunity for long-term interactions with practicing engineers. Job offers from WHRC sponsors often follow graduation.
What makes the WHRC so remarkable, and a potential model for university/ industry collaboration, is the long-term commitment of the industry sponsors and the careful attention that the WHRC has paid to the needs of the sponsors. In addition, Professor Reid believes that two elements have been key to the success of the WHRC: the buy-in of senior sponsor management (vice president level or higher) and a champion within the sponsor who will assure that developments at the WHRC are implemented to the benefit of the sponsor (Reid, 2012).
In 2009, Congress recognized the importance of America’s research universities when it asked the National Research Council the following:
What are the top ten actions that Congress, state governments, research universities, and others could take to assure the ability of the American research university to maintain the excellence in research doctorial education needed to help the United States compete, prosper, and achieve national goals for health, the environment, and security in the global community of the 21st century? 28
Much of the spirit of the First and Second Morrill Acts is reflected in the resulting report, Research Universities and the Future of America (Committee on Research Universities, Board on Higher Education and Workforce, Policy and Global Affairs, & National Research Council, 2012). Among the recommendations is a call for a strategic investment program under which universities would find a match to federal funding in order to create endowed faculty chairs and to build critical research infrastructure. An endowed faculty chair is an investment to assure continued success in some critical area. The chair holder may spend only the interest from the endowment to advance the university’s research programs or to aid the development of students and junior faculty members. If enacted, every university that takes the benefits of the funding will enter into a new agreement with the federal government that is very much in the spirit of the land-grant tradition, and which will help secure the future for the next generations.
1 . For this discussion, an institution is considered to have a land-grant heritage if at any time it received land-grant funding or is part of system that grew out of a campus that at one time received land-grant funding.
2 . The term institution is used to include colleges, universities, and institutes of technology.
3 . See for example the Academic Rankings of World Universities (Shanghai Jiao University, 2010) listed in the references.
4 . Named in honor of Congressman William Hatch of Missouri, who sponsored the bill.
5 . The 1987 Nobel Prize for Economics.
6 . In 1863, Massachusetts decided to split its land-grant funds. One-third went to MIT. The remainder was designated for the Massachusetts Agricultural College (today the University of Massachusetts). This is an example of the diversity of arrangements for land-grant institutions. MIT was the first institution to actually operate under the Morrill Act (Statton, 2005).
7 . See Cole (2009) for a more complete list.
8 . The full name of Rutgers is Rutgers the State University of New Jersey. Here and elsewhere, the common names for institutions have been used when there is no ambiguity in order to allow the text to flow more smoothly. Rutgers, one of the nine colonial colleges, was already 98 years old when it was granted land-grant status in 1864.
9 . Berkeley is the original campus of the University of California and was designated a land-grant college in 1866. The University of California has grown to include a system of 10 campuses.
10 . In deciding who should receive a portion of the royalties for streptomycin, Waksman identified 28 students and associates who had made a significant contribution to the discovery.
11 . See Rudolph (1990) for a detailed discussion of the history of American higher education.
12 . See (in chronological order) Ross, 1942; Eddy, 1957; Edmond, 1978; Burke, 1982; Williams, 1991; and Campbell, 1995.
13 . The Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was created on February 12, 1855.
14 . The Pennsylvania legislature created the Famers’ Agricultural High School (today The Pennsylvania State University) on February 22, 1855. In 2009, The Pennsylvania State University had the ninth largest research expenditure among US universities and colleges. See Bezilla (1985) for a history of The Pennsylvania State University.
15 . The lectures of Sir Humphrey Davy in 1810–12 had been published as Elements of Agricultural Chemistry , and Justus von Liebig had published Organic Chemistry in Its Application of Agriculture and Physiology in 1840 (R. L. Williams, 1991). See also Cochrane (1993).
16 . Elliot opposed the Hatch Act. Naturally, he would have preferred to see the funds go to Harvard.
17 . In 1863 the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale successfully argued that its goals were aligned with the intent of the Morrill Act and contracted with the state of Connecticut to receive the land-grant funds. In 1893 the Connecticut legislature made the Storrs Agricultural College the beneficiary of the First and Second Morrill Acts. Yale objected and sued. The courts ruled that the contract between Yale and Connecticut had been violated and awarded Yale $154,604, but they also ruled that Connecticut had the right to designate another land-grant institution.
18 . Cornell became New York’s land-grant institution on April 27, 1865.
19 . Designated a land-grant institution on March 29, 1864.
20 . Designated a land-grant institution on February 28, 1867.
21 . The University of Wisconsin was designated a land-grant institution on April 12, 1866.
22 . The Universalist Church obtained a charter in 1852 for Tufts University, which is named for Charles Tufts, who donated the land. Tufts had research expenditures of over $147 million in 2009.
23 . The NACA became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958.
24 . Bush’s first name is pronounced “van eaver.” He is not related to the 41st and 43rd U.S. presidents.
25 . In addition to being the president of the Carnegie Foundation, Bush was a member of the NACA. During his career, he cofounded what is today the Raytheon Corporation and designed the most advanced calculating and sorting machine of the day. He had also served as the dean of Engineering and vice president at MIT.
26 . Today, the research arm of the PHS is the National Institutes of Health.
27 . The exact number of colleges and universities in the United States depends on the source of the data. The U.S. Census Bureau reported 4,084 in 2003. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported 4,096 in 1999. The National Center for Education Statistics reported 4,140 in 2006. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching listed 4,635 in its 2010 report.
28 . For a copy of the entire letter, see Research Universities and the Future of America (National Research Council, 2012).
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Service, Cooperative Extension, and Community Engagement
Jorge H. Atiles, Chris Jenkins, Patricia Rayas-Duarte, Randal K. Taylor, Hailin Zhang
In the land-grant tripartite mission of teaching, research, and service, much attention is now given to better define and reward service. This chapter defines service in the modern land-grant university and how it should be understood to maximize its role.
Land-grant universities have a tradition of public service. They also have a unique aspect of their infrastructure, the Cooperative Extension Service, which extends knowledge and discovery to people in every county in the United States and beyond. This infrastructure, created by Congress in the early 20th century, reaches 100 years old in 2014. Land-grant universities have always played a role in their states’ social and economic well-being. University scholars extended the knowledge to the people, conducted research on the needs of society and the economy, and intervened, sometimes briefly and unilaterally, to bring about change.
Today, the modern land-grant university is based on a civic engagement model where solutions are reached through the joint efforts of the constituents it serves and its faculty, staff, and students. This model also brings together an array of relevant partners from the nonprofit, business, health, education, youth development, and faith communities, among others. The modern land-grant Cooperative Extension and community engagement view is interdisciplinary, intentional in its approach, and accountable to the needs of the state, the country, and the world. The modern university adapts its reappointment, promotion, and tenure processes to recognize the need to balance a faculty member’s responsibilities to instruction of the next generation of professionals, discovery of new knowledge, and engagement with society. The modern land-grant university changes with the times but enhances its connection to the very people it serves.
Defining Service
This chapter addresses the modern view of one of the three main components of a land-grant university: service. Defining service has always presented challenges when compared with defining teaching or research. University members often think they know what service means but may differ as to what constitutes service within a land-grant university.
Service encompasses many terms: public service, outreach, extension, Cooperative Extension, civic or community engagement, service learning, professional service, and so forth. All of these terms apply to work that is performed by university members (staff, faculty, or students) to contribute, along with their knowledge and university-related resources, to the needs of others. In sum, it is a way to extend knowledge beyond oneself, one’s unit, or one’s campus.
One way this is done is through university extension, also referred to as continuing education and outreach. This chapter will not expand on this unique system as it relates more readily to the teaching mission of a land-grant university, although it is also a way to extend knowledge to a larger, virtual campus. See Chapter 2 , “Teaching and Learning,” for more information about continuing education.
Is this concept of service any different in a land-grant university in comparison with any other university in the nation? The answer is in both the origins of the land-grant university in the Morrill Acts of 1862, 1890, and 1994 and in the creation of the Cooperative Extension Service with the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. Both sets of Congressional Acts shaped the land-grant university to be the people’s university and to make its knowledge and resources accessible to all. None is clearer than the Smith-Lever Act, which established a national system of knowledge delivery to people in every county or parish in the nation. This is what makes land-grant universities unique when it comes to service. Land-grant universities have a federal, state, and local cooperative funding mechanism that supports a physical and human infrastructure that delivers research-based and unbiased education to people in all 3,100 counties in the nation. Expanded information on Cooperative Extension will be addressed in the next section.
Most people would agree that a public university is charged with teaching, educating, and preparing the next generation of professionals in the U.S. workforce. Some would also understand that in order to prepare students, faculty members need to stay abreast of an ever rapidly changing world and its needs. Thus innovation based on scientific discovery of new knowledge is essential to address humanity’s needs in health, economy, finance, housing, transportation, energy, food, and communications, among others. What is not so clearly defined in the minds of the public, but somewhat expected, is the service role of a public university.
The public that universities intend to serve often has an unclear idea of the social role of land-grant universities. Furthermore, the public no longer remembers what the Morrill Act intended to accomplish and how a land-grant university is different from other universities in a state. The modern land-grant university makes its social role clear to the public.

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