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T W E LV E Constructing the Future Re-visioning Universities I N THE INTRODUCTION we noted that core principles are at the center of an ethical framework. In this concluding chapter we draw conclusions and offer recommendations with an eye to ethical discernment. UCB-N acted as lightning rod for numerous inarticulate concerns about the role and purpose of the university. Both supporters and detractors claimed to take the high road with respect to what we argue are the three core principles of the university: creativity, autonomy, and diversity. In some sense, everyone is right. But what has been obscured by the day-to-day business of the university—the teaching, research, and service obligations of faculty, the myriad requirements of managing a large and dynamic institution, the financial exigencies—is attention to the broader goals and objectives of the university . As Charles Vest (2005, 80) argues, “America knows better than any other nation how to do research, but we have lost our common understanding of why do research.”These issues have received scant attention, as ad hoc, short-term decision making has consumed faculty and administrators alike. This is true at UCB, but it is also true at nearly every public research university in the United States. First, although there is widespread agreement on the need for faculty autonomy at the university, the various (usually implicit) definitions of autonomy are vague and perhaps antithetical. Of what does autonomy consist? What do we mean by academic freedom? How ought we to try to reconcile the disparate goals of diverse fields of endeavor? Is academic freedom merely the freedom of individual researchers to pursue their interests, or must we T W E LV E 180 begin to consider the concept as it applies to departments, centers, and university administration as well? Second, there is also widespread agreement on the need to support and even bolster creativity among the faculty. But here, too, the definitions are vague. Can universities do this in a manner that fosters rewards for some without penalizing others? Can they develop mechanisms for enhancing creativity that are inclusive rather than exclusive? Can they better define what kinds of grants and contracts best serve to enhance the creativity of some faculty without limiting the creativity of others? Can the risks of creativity outside the box be acknowledged? Accommodated? Embraced? Third, there is widespread support for diversity. But diversity means different things to different people. Here, too, universities face what appear to be trade-offs between enhanced intellectual diversity within a given field of endeavor and across fields of endeavor. Is there really a trade-off? If so, how might universities ensure that it is equitable? If not, how do administrators and faculty determine whether to pursue greater depth in a given field of scholarship versus supporting multiple fields of scholarship? Fourth, the academic community must ask whether the three principles of autonomy, creativity, and diversity are in fact still at the core of higher education . If so, how does autonomy accommodate democracy (and fiscal crises)? How does creativity work across research, teaching, and service? How does diversity relate to difference? Do the principles need to be modified? Replaced? Reordered? Finally, decision makers within the university must ask again how the institution should distribute goods in order to achieve its goals. What mix of markets, need, and dessert is appropriate for teaching, research, and service? How can the university reconcile these disparate approaches to the distribution of goods in a way that achieves the common good? What kinds of consensus , or even dissensus, exists with respect to defining the breadth, depth, and scope of the common good? These are difficult questions, and they have no simple answers. But failing to address them is likely to be far more damaging to the future of research universities than continuing to ignore them and proceeding virtually blindly into the future. Clearly the future will not be a mere repetition of the past. But it will be molded, perhaps not just as some would like, by decisions made today not only on university campuses but by state and national legislative bodies and even the courts. Academia needs to examine its policies and procedures and see whether they fit together in ways that are meaningful and serve the common good. C O N S T R U C T I N G T H E F U T U R E 181 Ethics will play a role in...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781592135356
Related ISBN
9781592135349
MARC Record
OCLC
184903524
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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