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(p.1) Introduction
Saving Alma Mater
Ernst R. Berndt
University of Chicago Press

This book is a proposal for breaking the destructive cycle that is driving up the price of a college education while at the same time eroding the quality of America's public universities. The concept underlying the proposal is to introduce competition into the equation by expanding taxpayer options for education. Much of this book is devoted to the culture of academia and the crucial role of academic leaders—university presidents, chancellors, and governing boards—within that culture. The book discusses several topics such as marketplace forces and public university financing, the rising cost of a college education, the academic culture, shared governance traditions, the university presidency, academic administration and governing boards, university admissions and financial aid practices, state legislatures, and public higher education policy. Half of this book focuses on the inefficiencies inherent in the academic culture of public universities, and the other half focuses on their economic model. The book is a personal narrative about public higher education's problems and potential solutions, drawn primarily from author's experience as a long-term university faculty member and administrator and intended for readers seeking a broad-brush view of the subject.

Keywords:   public universities, college education, cost analysis, academic administration, academic culture, higher education

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