The California master plan has been an inspiration in the world of higher education. Introduced in the 1960s it market an important milestone in thinking about system coordination in higher education. However – what has happened to the plan since?

clipboard02In a new book, professor Simon Marginson looks into the development of the plan and its spread across the world. Simon Marginson is the Director of the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) Centre for Global Higher Education, and leads CGHE’s global higher education engagement research programme.

Marginson explains his main rationale for the book: “In this book I start from the legacy of Clark Kerr and the 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education in California, noting the strengths and weaknesses of that framework, and then reflect on the spread of the Californian ‘Multiversity’, and the influence of the system model, throughout the world, especially in East Asia“.

In the book, he also takes a more critical stance towards the recent developments in American higher education, as Marginson argues: “The final 40 per cent of the book then attempts to explain the gathering and growing difficulties faced by public higher education in America, in the context of an increasingly unequal economy and society. The conclusion suggests ways forward for the future.

The book is available open access, which is arguably still (too) rare in the field of higher education for books. Marginson explains his rationale for choosing open access: “I am very impressed by the scholarly virtues of open access publishing of a scholarly book, which University of California Press (in line with their own public values which can be traced back to the 1960s) are increasingly using. It’s good to be able to spread the work more widely than with solely purchased books.

Download the book

Marginson, S. (2016) – The Dream is Over: The crisis of Clark Kerr’s California Idea of higher education. Published by University of California Press, download free at doi: http://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.17