Between 1967 and 1969 the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education initiated and substantially funded several national surveys of U.S. higher education. One such study of faculty employed a questionnaire that was mailed to approximately 100,000 full-time college and university faculty at 303 schools nationwide. The results of this survey, which solicited more than 300 items of information from each respondent and enjoyed an unusually high response rate of over 60%, contain a wealth of data on a variety of political and social issues that has rarely been subjected to careful analysis by scholars.

This is especially unfortunate in retrospect. The Carnegie survey of faculty was conducted during a period of tremendous political and social upheaval in the United States — much of which is often closely associated with the academic community. The 1960s were characterized in part by the verbal bashing of academics who were variously denounced as leftwing theoreticians, ivory-tower guideline writers, pointy-headed professors, and so on. In addition, accusations were made that college professors not only aided and abetted the wrongdoings of student activists, but also gave their unreserved support to school desegregation and other social engineering efforts by the federal government. When results from the Carnegie survey are examined, however, a somewhat different picture of the faculty of the 1960s emerges.


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