Reinventing the System: Higher Education in Nevada, 1968-2000

Since 1968, higher education in Nevada has undergone radical transformation because of the state's phenomenal population growth, efforts to diversify its economic base, and political tensions between north and south. In this meticulously researched and engagingly written account of the University and Community College System of Nevada, James W. Hulse reviews the causes of the widespread changes in the System, giving careful attention to the history of each institution and its administrators, and offers comments about the impact of each of these changes on the System overall. Few states - and few systems of higher education - have changed so radically in the past three decades. The UCCSN therefore serves as a kind of microcosm of debates about higher education around the country. Hulse's account demonstrates the way the needs of a changing population and economy can impact an educational system; the involvement of politicians striving to meet the needs and expectations of their constituents; and the influence of national trends in education on a state system. He discusses the crucial role of the Board of Regents in administering the UCCSN - Nevada being the only state in the Union with a single board responsible for all of higher education, from the flagship universities to the community colleges to the professional schools and research institutes - and examines the complex relationships between the Board and the state legislature and between Board members and their regional constituencies. He also discusses the role of the Chancellor and the Chancellor's Office in administering the System, outlining the ways this unit has been redefined as the System has evolved. His analysis of the evolution of each individual institution and of the growth of the community colleges includes some speculation about the future of these campuses and about the future of the UCCSN in general.