Into the Classroom: Jesse Lytle to Teach Course

Posted: August 29, 2006

This fall, assistant to the president Jesse Lytle will teach a course on the challenges higher education is facing, using Mount Holyoke as a central example. In fact, developing ideas for improving Mount Holyoke will be the final project.

Education Studies 260: Mission and Market: Higher Education will examine the development of higher education in the U.S. from upstart colonial colleges into a multi-billion dollar industry and will begin with two key questions: Is Mount Holyoke a school or a business? Is the institution one sees today what Mary Lyon had in mind in 1837?

The seminar will look closely at the tension between educational mission and market forces, and how the interaction between academe and society has played out from the founding of the republic through women's rights, the world wars, and 60s counterculture. In addition, classes will touch on a range of contemporary topics such as access and affirmative action, standardized testing, athletics, and e-learning. Mount Holyoke will serve as a recurring case study.

"The culminating project will ask students to look at a pressing issue at Mount Holyoke today, place it in historical context, and use campus, industry, and scholarly resources to develop a policy recommendation for the board of trustees," Lytle noted. "Hopefully students will get a taste of how organizational behavior inevitably reflects a compromise among various value-based and practical considerations. With Mount Holyoke situated close to numerous fault lines in higher education--such as those around women's education, the liberal arts curriculum, educational access, or assessment--the College provides a remarkable lens into the form and function of the industry today."

Lytle has been assistant to the president and secretary of the College since 2003. He holds both a M.S. Ed. and an Ed.D. in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked with Dr. Robert Zemsky in researching issues including intercollegiate athletics, Latino access to higher education, and e-learning.

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