Throughout history, different approaches to higher education have been used to fulfill different aims. The rise of the industrial revolution and the need for scientists and engineers shifted the focus of higher education. As a result, physics and chemistry departments grew. These departments addressed the growing need for trained scientists and applied researchers. Moreover, a well-rounded education was important for advancement in the private sector, which relied on skilled and literate employees.
In the late nineteenth century, the United States passed laws banning child labor, which helped increase the number of children attending school. By the mid-nineteenth century, the first mandatory educational law was passed in Mississippi and Massachusetts. This law made education mandatory for all children in those states, but it was later overturned by the Supreme Court. Then, in the late 19th century, Congress supported a school lunch program to provide free meals to schoolchildren. This initiative was a major step toward ensuring equality in education and brought about new opportunities.
In ancient times, education was based on ability rather than age. The ability to learn was more important than one’s age, and the ability to afford a higher education was important. Only the rich and powerful would expect a complete education, while the majority of workers learned most of their vocational skills on the job.
After World War II, higher education curriculum changed to include a wide variety of academic disciplines. However, despite these changes, the demographics of higher education remained similar, with white male students making up the majority. However, the Civil Rights movement changed the makeup of the student population, and affirmative action policies were introduced.
While the core missions of universities and colleges are still the same, the business model has changed significantly over the past century. Today, universities and colleges rely on two revenue streams – student tuition and student fees. Both of these revenue streams are under severe pressure. In this time of unprecedented challenges, it is important for institutions to adopt a new business model that protects their educational mission and limits economic burdens on their students.
While most publications on healthy institutions focused on specific institutions, only a small number of papers explored the general notion of a healthy institution. In the 2000s, there were more general agenda-setting articles focusing on aspirational concepts. This period also saw the emergence of systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials.
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