Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Land-grant universities provide an important structure for an accommodation of liberal and useful education. However, even within this structure, the relationship between useful and liberal is subject to changing balance. This study examines the relation by tracing the evolution of the agricultural and mechanical arts at a significant land-grant case--Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. From the perspectives of curriculum, instruction, and faculty, the study tests the hypothesis that Cheit's "model" for the evolution of "new profession" schools as peripheral satellites first turned full citizens second identifies Virginia Tech's evolving relationship of liberal and useful, particularly in agriculture and engineering. The data analysis is framed by Cheit's model, Snyder's "hidden curriculum," and Clark's "saga." The study's conclusion is that Cheit's model is basically accurate--with two qualifiers appended. The first qualifier links Virginia Tech's rise to professional university status to a commitment to the land-grant saga. The second qualifier acknowledges the liberal arts' own struggle for professional standing and parallels the institution's becoming a university with the development of the liberal arts as professional entities and institution-wide service/support components. Thus, Virginia Tech's liberal and useful balance becomes a tension adjusting to the land-grant saga. Based on this conclusion, projections for Virginia Tech's future are shaped by the land-grant saga, but with a qualitative, university orientation. For the post land-grant university in the abstract, recommendations for the future include a refinement of land-grant emphases with an increased focus on internationalism, a less bifurcated view of the universe, and a more integrated approach within curricula.



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