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THE IDEA OF THE UNIVERSITY, TAKE ONE: ON THE GENIUS OF THIS PLACE*

By Donald N. Levine

Abstract

While the public has been napping, the American university has been busily reinventing itself. In barely a generation, the familiar ethic of scholarship– baldly put, that the central mission of universities is to advance and transmit knowledge–has been largely ousted by the just-in-time, immediate-gratification values of the marketplace.... Gone... is any commitment to maintaining a community of scholars, an intellectual city on a hill free to engage critically with the conventional wisdom of the day. (Kirp 2000) So speaks David Kirp, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, in a recent article entitled "The New U. " Grant him the margin of hyperbole that writers love to grab the attention of an audience, and you will still have to admit–at least, if you have been in touch with the world outside of Hyde Park–that Kirp's words capture one central tendency of today's academic world. Sociologist Robert Bellah provides context for the change Kirp notes by tying it to the recent tendency in American thought to identify freedom with the free market. Challenging that linkage, Bellah argues

Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.464.5514
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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