Nathan Sorber, an assistant professor in educational leadership studies at West Virginia University’s College of Education and Human Services, recently published his first book, “The Land-Grant Colleges and the Reshaping of American Higher Education.”

Sorber joined the college in fall 2012 after receiving his doctorate in higher education from Penn State. His co-author is Roger Geiger, a distinguished professor of higher education at Penn State and Sorber’s mentor. The two formed the idea for their work during a national symposium at Penn State that commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, legislation that allowed for the creation of land-grant colleges.

The book is a timely examination of land-grant institutions, a group of colleges and universities with the unique mission to provide access to the neediest students and to serve the public good. Given increasing challenges presented to higher educational institutions to receive public funding, Sorber believed it was time to apply a more academic consideration to the topic, which has generally been viewed romantically rather than studied in a scholarly manner. Much of his current research is based around the history and contemporary practices of land-grant institutions like WVU.

“This book considers the history of the land-grant college movement that created some of the nation’s largest and most successful public universities,” said Sorber. “Our goal was to provide a critical examination of the role played by land-grant colleges in ‘expanding access to previously underserved populations, growing state economies . . . [and] advancing agriculture to meet the needs of a modern economy.’”

Sorber hopes the new work will be of interest to academic and general audiences, and become a cornerstone of history of education courses. “The Land-Grant Colleges and the Reshaping of American Higher Education” was published by Transaction Publishers as part of their History of Higher Education series.



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CONTACT: Christie Zachary, College of Education and Human Services
Phone: 304-293-0224;