Two societal factors which continue to have the greatest impact on higher educational administration are: (1.) the individual differences among students and (2.) the pressure on educators to teach an increasingly diverse population of students. The work of John Dewey, in what came to be known as "progressive education," and currently, the work of Howard Gardner in the field of "multiple intelligences," will guide the discussion. The historical development of the above factors, relative to the historical development of higher education, will be discussed. In addition, the manner in which the relationship between these two factors and higher educational administration influences one's personal and professional growth will be covered.
Some common factors relating to individual differences among students are the following: one's social class, sex, the effect of the peer group, and the cultural values instilled by the family and larger culture. As one might expect, attitudes toward higher education are less favorable among lower-class pupils than among those from higher socio-economic classes. Students from wealthier families generally place a greater emphasis on the need for higher education and strive to attain good grades. According to Turner (1979), "They also have more accurate concepts of their scholastic abilities and higher vocational aspirations than lower-class young people" (p. 305).
Traditionally, girls have been more concerned with getting good grades, regardless of the coursework's significance to their vocational ambitions. Of course, this statement is a grand generality, and teachers are taught to be aware of sex differences when they relate to their classes. Despite the above generality, girls have traditionally done less well in math and science coursework than boys. For example, girls in math and science courses should be given encouragement commensurate to that of boys.
The peer group is the largest ...