The Beleaguered College: Essays on Educational Reform

UC History & Higher Education
Joseph Tussman
Out of print
Publication Date:

The central theme of these remarkable essays is the attempt to establish at UC Berkeley in the late 1960s a radically different form of lower-division liberal education.  In giving the rationale and telling the story of the program, its establishment, and its failure to become a permanent part of the Berkeley educational scene, Joseph Tussman analyzes the shortcomings of the conventional pattern of undergraduate education almost universal in America today—a pattern so deeply entrenched as to make serious reform, however needed or desirable, extremely difficult.

Tussman offers a novel conception of the “teaching power” as an inherent constitutional power and discusses attempts to control it or to limit its scope.  This discussion provides the context for understanding “academic freedom.”

There is a tribute to Alexander Meiklejohn, one of Tussman’s teachers and one of the great educators and social thinkers of the century who lived his later years in Berkeley.

All in all, Tussman mounts a radical defense of a conservative position if not a conservative defense of a radical point of view about college education.