Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Arts (DA)



First Advisor

William Caraher


The “modernization” of higher education, 1945-1970, was a transitional period in American higher education. It was marked by a number of challenges that prompted rapid change in institutions around the United States. These changes were accompanied by expedient expansion in curriculum, faculty size, and physical plant of universities. One of the changes that came out of the period of modernization was the establishment of the Doctor of Arts degree as a way to produce professional faculty to fill open positions created by the rapid expansion of the modernization. As a result, the Doctor of Arts served as a modernization solution to a modernization problem.

The period impacted the University of North Dakota in the many of the same ways as larger costal institutions. UND encountered many of the same limitations and challenges as larger institutions and dealt with them in many of the same ways. UND’s administration helmed by President’s West and Starcher who sought to modernize the university and create a lasting institution that would thrive on the northern plains. An examination of UND during this time period provides context with which to situate the examination of the DA at UND.

Finally, an examination of the Doctor of Arts Degree both from a local perspective and a national perspective provides context for the lasting impacts of the modernization period. The successes and struggles of the DA illustrates the building of the modern university, and eventually the aging of that same institution.