• William Kirby


2024, Book Chapter: "We often measure the strength of nations by GDP or by the size of armies, navies, and air forces. But it can also be measured in the realm of ideas. Today, the influence of a nation may be gauged by the strength of its universities and the ability to develop and attract talent. The foremost global powers of the last three centuries have all been leaders of scholarship and learning. In the nineteenth century, the modern research university born in Berlin propelled Germany to the forefront of science and global power. In the twentieth century, the strength and allure of American universities were central to an “American century” of world influence. In 2024, nearly every major ranking of global universities shows American institutions still in leading positions. Yet we know this was not the case in 1924, and there is no reason to assume it will be true in 2124. Today, American leadership in higher education–as in other areas–is under great stress, particularly in its public universities, but also in its distinguished private universities, which have become lightning rods in the political and culture wars of the day."