How will American institutions of higher learning face the challenges of our evolving society, one in which they are under increasing pressure to help solve social problems? Higher and thicker walls will not insulate universities from the social policy issues of health, reindustrialisation, crime, race relations, and political participation, nor from corporate demands for new skills to restore competitiveness with Japan and Western Europe, nor from the dwindling of the traditional student pool. In "Continuing Higher Education" Allan W. Lerner, B. Kay King, and five other authors address a thorny problem for today's "mega-universities", large research-teaching complexes that serve an array of purposes. Their dilemma is whether or not to stand fast in their current configurations - becoming more and more irrelevant as smaller, more resilient organisations fill the void and as funding dries up at all levels, for all purposes, and from all sources - or to commit to a new integration of service, teaching and research.
"Continuing Higher Education" begins with an examination of how the university must adapt to a fundamentally altered student body, explains how changes will affect faculty and research agendas, proposes and criticises new structures for delivering continuing education, considers financial strategies that accommodate entrepreneurism without bowing to it, and prescribes a regimen of adaptation to an environment that is "essentially a complicated web of organisations". University administrators, continuing education program planners, professors, researchers and graduate students should find this work thought-provoking.