Got a comment?
Send ideas to
Renewing the Covenant: Learning, Discovery, and Engagement in a
New Age and Different World
The Kellogg commission issued this report as their culminating statement
to the series of reports,
Returning to our Roots. The report conveys the Commission's
stance on the need for a renewed and binding covenant between our
institutions and the public they serve, and the direction in which our
public universities need to go to accomplish this in a new age and different
KEY POINTS FROM THE REPORT
- What then does the term "public university" mean today? The
irreducible idea is that it exists to advance the common good.
- As the new millennium dawns, the fundamental challenge with which we
struggle is how to reshape our historic agreement with the American people
so that it fits the times that are emerging instead of the times that have
- Historically, the covenant between public universities and the American
people has been grounded in wide access, excellent curricula, research of
value to people and communities, and public governance and financing.
- Despite progress, access remains an unfinished agenda. Severe racial,
ethnic, and economic disparities characterize enrollment and graduation
rates in American public higher education.
- By age 24, 48% of young men and women from high-income
families have graduated from college, compared to only 7% of low-income
- The second part of the original covenant was an essential notion:
Knowledge has consequences for individuals and utility for the larger
society. In this part we can point to remarkable accomplishments.
- The intellectual force behind the economic development
of many of our states and their communities.
- Incredible increases in agricultural productivity.
- Provided the scientific base on which the nation's defense, diplomacy,
and economic competitiveness have depended throughout the second half of the
- The third leg of our pact is the overarching public nature of our
mission, programs, and governance. Whether we are land-grant institutions
under terms of the original Morrill Act in 1862, historically black
land-grant institutions provided for in the Second Morrill Act in 1890,
tribal land-grant colleges, or public institutions with no land-grant
designation, our institutions have one thing in common: Each of us is
publicly created, publicly supported, and governed by public bodies for
public purposes. Our mission is a mindset as much as a program.
- The Commission believes that the public also has some responsibilities.
One suggestion for meeting those responsibilities is by adding a Higher
Education Millennial Partnership Act to the list of historic federal
enactments that have enriched the United States (e.g., the Morrill Acts of
1863 and 1890, the Hatch Act of 1887, the 1914 Smith-Lever Act).
- The following table presents a legislative framework for New Covenant
for the 21st Century.
A Legislative Framework for New Covenant for the 21st Century
| Stakeholder|| Existing
Covenant for the 21st Century|
| FEDERAL|| Seed funds from sale of the public's lands to
establish public universities|| Support to enable public universities
to attain the technological infrastructure needed for advanced information
| || Support for basic research|| Support
for discoveries and new policy encouraging private investment in
university-based research and research parks.|
| || Support for student aid.|| Tax policy
establishing educational savings accounts, available throughout a students'
| STATE|| Establish public universities.|| Provide
continuing support and create partnerships with public institutions to
engage with public needs.|
| || Provide basic financial support.||
Commit to strengthen academic governance through appointment process for
boards and presidents.|
| || Commitment to low tuition.||
Leadership to maintain affordable access, respond to challenges of
| UNIVERSITY|| Teaching, Research, and Service.||
Learning, Discovering, and Engagement.|
| || Access for the sons and daughters of
low-income and working families|| Access for the full diversity of
America and lifelong learning contracts with students.|
| || Research and services focused on agriculture
and mining challenges of the time.|| Discovery and engagement focused
on pressing educational, social, economic, scientific, and medical
challenges of our times.|
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
The Kellogg national commission framed seven commitments it believes
public higher education must make.
- Educational opportunity that is genuinely equal because it provides
access to success without regard to race, ethnicity, age, occupation, or
- Excellence in undergraduate, graduate, and professional curricula,
continuing the public tradition of liberal and practical learning, preparing
graduates for both their immediate and long-term futures.
- Leaning environments that meet the civic ends of public higher
education by preparing students to lead and participate in a democratic
- Complex and broad-based agendas for discovery and graduate education
that are informed by the latest scholarship and responsiveness to pressing
- Conscious efforts to organize the resources and expertise at our
institutions to bring them to bear in a coherent way on community, state,
national, and international problems.
- Systems and data that will allow us periodically to make an open
accounting of our progress toward achieving our commitment to the public
- Intensive, on-going monitoring on the progress and implementation of
the Kellogg Commission's recommendations.
National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.
(2000, March). Renewing the covenant: Learning, discovery, and engagement in
a new age and different world. Washington, DC: Author.
Submitted by R.M. Johnson, March 2004. This is a report summary and
excerpts are quoted directly from the text.
Iowa State was the first chartered land-grant institution.