Rethinking the Future of the University
Publication Year: 1998
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Series: Mentor Series
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
By now it is apparent even to the most remote observers of higher education in Canada that here, too, as in the modern technological countries generally, universities are in a perhaps unprecedented state of crisis. In Canada, we do not admit this lightly: the public university has been one of the most enduringly productive and stabilizing influences in a nation that, historically, has not gone out of its way to romanticize or cultivate crisis. But ...
PART I: WHERE DID WE COME FROM?
1 THE ORIGINAL IDEA OF THE UNIVERSITY
In keeping with the main theme of the McMartin lectures, my aim is twofold: to identify the idea that inspired the constitution of the medieval university and, at the same time, to extract the subsequent meaning of this original idea for all those who, nowadays, ponder the futureof the university as an institution. Essayed in this way, the aim is ...
2 NEWMAN, THEOLOGY AND THE CONTEMPORARY UNIVERSITY
It is now nearly a century and a half since John Henry Newman delivered his famous lectures on The Idea of a University.1 So it is worth asking how his "idea" is doing. Let us suppose that Newman were somehow able to return to survey the state of modern universities. Let us say, for instance, that he had an opportunity to tour the universities of North America, which today may lay claim to providing the ...
PART II: WHERE ARE WE NOW?
3 THE POLITICIZATION OF THE UNIVERSITY AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
"Education is a subject on which we all feel that we have something to say/' wrote T.S. Eliot, and here one is reminded of the American writer Flannery O'Connor's pithy riposte to a query from an earnest young student following a lecture she had given on the state of American fiction. The student fretted that education, the dead hand of the...
4 CAN HUMANE LITERACY SURVIVE WITHOUT A GRAND NARRATIVE?
I want to begin by recounting a story from the earliest days of literacy in the English-speaking world. It was the end of the sixth century. The flower of Roman antiquity had wilted and then been blasted into fragments by corruption from within and barbarian invasions from without. But Christian ...
PART III: WHERE ARE WE GOING?
5 THE FUTURE OF TEACHING
In I960, the distinguished American colonial historian Bernard Bailyn published a small essay that deeply influenced the manner in which an entire generation of social and intellectual historians came to think about education. Entitled Education in the Forming of American Society, the essay argued for ...
6 THE FUTURE OF RESEARCH
Active participants in university value the ideals of autonomy, independent research and the advancement of knowledge. Universities are portrayed by many as adhocracies in which professors pursue their own research individually. Over the years, however, broader social roles and expectations of performance have been emphasized for ...
7 THE FUTURE OF THE UNIVERSITY: FROM POSTMODERN TO TRANSMODERN
We begin by surveying the situation of the university today, especially the university world in the United States with which I am most familiar. (Of course, there are strong similarities between universities in the U.S. and those in Canada and Western Europe.) Let us call this the "modern university" as it is the university with which we are all ...
8 WILL TECHNOLOGY SAVE US?
Indeed it has. The link between knowledge and education, once considered indissoluble, has now been severed. The university operates as "a factory of knowledge," in T.H. Huxley's disturbing phrase (Huxley, 328), churning out isolated masses of information without reference to an underlying principle of integration.1 Here all ...