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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Is There a Long Arc of Leadership?: The David Mathews Administration of the University of Alabama in the 1970s
by Waldron, Edward J., III, Ph.D., The University of Alabama, 2018, 185; 10837918
Abstract (Summary)

The new spirit, which asked serious questions of American democracy in the 1960s, turned into the actions and deliberations of the 1970s. Within Alabama, tectonic shifts in culture, economics, and politics—but especially civil rights—underpinned much of the Alabama experience in the 1970s. How would a 33-year-old president of a flagship university in the Deep South respond? The ethos guiding the Mathews’ Administration was a product of his times, which sought, in the words of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the "dignity of man, and the destiny of democracy." Two questions dominate this period in University history: First, what large issues confronted the University of Alabama during the 1970s, and what philosophical bases formed President Mathews’ decision making in confronting them? Second, what policy and political shifts existed in Alabama in this era? As Mathews quietly pushed the University of Alabama forward from desegregation toward full integration, many external factors began to weigh on the presidency of the University. Once an office of high autonomy, the presidency shifted as increasing pressures changed the University’s sense of identity and its relation within the state's political, economic, and social structures. Utilizing analytical essaying, this dissertation addresses the public flagship’s role to the public it serves while also understanding the implications a wider environment can have on a university’s mission. Ultimately asking whether this institution is a university in Alabama or the University of Alabama, Mathews saw education—more specifically the University's graduates and thus the University itself—as the best option toward improving the general welfare of Alabamians.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Holley, Karri A.
Commitee: Bray, Nathaniel, Hardy, David, Major, Claire, Urban, Wayne
School: The University of Alabama
Department: Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies
School Location: United States -- Alabama
Source: DAI-A 80/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership
Keywords: Alabama, Mathews, President
Publication Number: 10837918
ISBN: 978-0-438-44326-6
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