December 02, 2015

50 Years of Page Ones

The Chronicle founder Corbin Gwaltney

In November 2016, The Chronicle of Higher Education will mark its 50th anniversary. To lead up to the occasion, we’ve chosen front pages featuring some of our reporting on events in higher education and the zeitgeist of the nation’s colleges and universities over the years.

Each week for the next 12 months, we’ll present one of those front pages online as well as in our print edition. These news articles represent moments of evolution and change, of course,but more than a few are salient today.

Whether you have read The Chronicle for years or have come to us only recently, we thank you for your readership and support. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we look forward to the next 50 years together.

Here's a look at the cover of our very first issue, published 49 years ago.

Opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War intensifies.

A presidential election held in wartime produced rancor on campuses.

Some campus administrators said they were "almost ready to give up" trying to deal with an "escalating crisis in higher education."

A presidential commission examined fatal shootings during protests on two campuses.

Tenure was under attack, sex discrimination on campus was being investigated, and distance education was envisioned. 

As recreational drug use spread far and wide, some students saw business opportunities.

Some black academics took umbrage at what they saw as the relatively rapid progress being made by women on campus.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, in all its complexity, has become part of the fabric of campus operations.

Expressing the same frustrations in 1975 as they do today, some part-time instructors made early attempts to organize.

In 1976, “two-way communication between student and machine” was a novelty worth noting.

Federal legislation in 1977 would have let colleges send tenured faculty members on their way at age 65.

In 1978, the Supreme Court’s "Bakke" decision limited the purposes to which colleges could put such policies.

Books shelved at Winthrop College’s library were threatened by an effort to save energy.

Stress was highest among married women and single men in academe, a survey found.

Critics warned of a relaxing of academic standards on many campuses. And a professor, accused of sexual harassment, sued his accusers.

In light of the problems caused by alcohol abuse, colleges began to question their traditional attitude of benign neglect. 

The National Commission on Excellence in Education issued a report whose sting was felt for years.

William J. Bennett, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, said colleges were failing at their “great task of transmitting a culture.”

The epidemic, in its early years, forced difficult decisions on every campus.

In a major report on higher education under apartheid, The Chronicle examined a regime that proved to be in its last years. 

In a best-selling book, Allan Bloom argued that the liberal arts had given up on teaching universal truths.

The university replaced its traditional program in Western culture with one that also takes up issues of race, gender, and class.

The Chronicle visited four campuses to describe what has come to be called the racial climate.

Long before the term “alt-ac” was known, some Ph.D.s found work outside academe after years of fruitless job-hunting at colleges.

The colleges, along with others, faced antitrust pressure from the Justice Department, which saw the practice as unfair to students

Henry Louis Gates Jr. gains notice for building a discipline, and reinvigorating a department, at Harvard.

The complications of old times not forgotten at the University of Mississippi

Drew Gilpin Faust reviewed ethical violations for the scholarly association of a newly diverse discipline.

This is how an English professor’s literary pseudonym took on an outspoken life of its own.

As back-to-back campaigns grew more common, so did criticism — and defense — of their wisdom.

A fast talker posing as a well-known sports sociologist bilked dozens of scholars out of more than $200,000.

Frumpy or chic? Sometimes clothes make the professor.

When a faculty-led study showed MIT that it was discriminating against women, the university did something unusual: It agreed.

The well-known literary theorist tested his contrarian reputation to see what he could do as a dean at a regional public university.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in Manhattan, lost more than 100 students and alumni among the first responders on September 11.

No athletic department carried more weight on its campus than Ohio State’s.

As they enrolled in ever greater numbers, Hispanic students were having an effect on campuses from the Mexican border to Minnesota, from California to the Carolinas.

Diploma mills had become a multimillion-dollar, worldwide industry, attracting some memorable characters.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s flooding, months of difficult efforts by colleges saved higher education in New Orleans.

A chart of world temperatures over nine centuries became embroiled in a duel of science and politics in the battle over climate-change theory.

The shooting deaths at Virginia Tech stunned the nation and led colleges to re-examine their policies on campus security.

The Great Recession forced hundreds of colleges to scramble for cash to pay their bills.

The Clery Act’s reporting requirements for campus crimes produced too many numbers to crunch.

One-fourth of private colleges do business with companies run by members of their governing boards. Whose interests come first?

The child-sex-abuse scandal at Penn State shook the institution to its core.

The tension between Teresa Sullivan and the governing board, which ousted and then reinstated her, went deeper than a clash of strong-willed figures.

The high cost of college sent some students into the "body commodification" market, where they exploited the value of their own skin and what’s underneath it.

A close look at one college town’s uneasy embrace of drinking.

The conversation over sexual assault on campus grew fiercer but not more productive.