Though the whole idea of racial preferences in higher education has become a flash point of controversy, neither side of the argument has had hard empirical evidence upon which to base its claims. This is precisely the kind of information former university presidents Bowen and Bok attempt to provide, by examining the admissions policies of several (unnamed) institutions and following the fortunes of their minority graduates over a period of years. What they find is certainly provocative--and if, in the end, Bowen and Bok still haven't answered the affirmative-action conundrum, they've taken a valuable first step toward providing some of the necessary facts for an intelligent discussion of the issue.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Winner of the 2001 Grawemeyer Award in EducationWinner of the 1999 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Government and Political Science, Association of American Publishers
"The most ambitious and authoritative study to date of the effects of affirmative action in higher education, . . . a serious (though accessible) work of research, . . . an important corrective to conservative propaganda masquerading as social science."--Ellis Cose, Newsweek
"A compelling new book . . . demonstrates why affirmative action programs can be good for the country. . . . The authors prove with facts, not anecdotes, that affirmative action works. . . . With the presidential commission having fallen flat in trying to advance the national discussion on race, it may be the smaller-scale efforts, like the Bowen and Bok book, that better lay the groundwork for long-term change."--Los Angeles Times
"No study of this magnitude has been attempted before. Its findings provide a strong rationale for opposing current efforts to demolish race-sensitive policies in colleges across the country. . . . The evidence collected flatly refutes many of the misimpressions of affirmative-action opponents."--The New York Times
"The Shape of the River
is the most comprehensive study ever done of affirmative action in higher education, and it demands the attention of anyone who cares about American universities."--David Gergen, U.S. News and World Report
"The Shape of the River
. . . offers much more comprehensive statistics and much more sophisticated analysis than has been available before. Impressionistic and anecdotal evidence will no longer suffice: any respectable discussion of the consequences of affirmative action in universities must now either acknowledge its findings or challenge them, and any challenge must match the standards of breadth and statistical professionalism that Bowen, Bok, and their colleagues have achieved."--Ronald Dworkin, New York Review of Books
"What is good for business in this case is good for society too--good for us all. This report may, at last, make that fact evident even to the most obtuse."--Garry Wills, The Plain Dealer
"On the strength of [the authors'] credentials the reader can expect much, and much is delivered.... The Shape of the River
is a monumental achievement. Its foundation is so solidly anchored to a bedrock of data that it will be relied upon as a navigational beacon for years to come."--Robert E. Thatch, Science