a1 University of Massachusetts
The origins of the American university system are generally traced to a reform cycle that began in the late 1890s and culminated in the 1920s when most colleges and universities adopted institutional structures, faculty routines, and financial systems that approximated those of a modern corporation. As contemporary educational historians have rewritten the saga of higher education reform, the institutional changes that swept through colleges during this formative period have come to be viewed as a virtually inevitable functional response to the demands of political and economic modernization. The underlying historiographic theme of modernization theory is that as higher institutions expanded in size, internal diversity, and organizational complexity, university presidents responded with the only feasible administrative alternative that could restore effective control and economic efficiency to educational institutions. Indeed, Laurence Veysey's classic rendition of this scenario concludes that a corporate type of bureaucratic administration became “essential” if higher institutions were to avoid educational confusion and fiscal insolvency, while adjusting to the cultural, economic, and political demands placed on them by industrial society.