Universities – what is it reasonable to expect of them?

By | 3rd December 2019

…This led me to think further about the weight of expectations that was being placed on the contemporary university and whether this was in any sense fair or realistic. A casual trawl of the trade press and social media identifies calls for universities to feed and house students for free or at highly subsidised rates, to protect their mental health, to compensate for their physical and learning challenges, to deliver social justice and to save the planet. In effect, they are asked to exercise all the responsibilities of parents and to act as a secular equivalent of the medieval church as the conscience of the nation.

We might be led to ask two sets of questions here. First, on what basis the parental model might be legitimated – and paid for? Second, on what basis universities might claim to act to a higher moral purpose than other institutions?…

…Is there no end to the responsibilities of a university? Can anyone realistically manage an organization with such a diffuse and indeterminate mission that is constantly buffeted by changing fashions in its environment?

A Sage socialsciencespace blog

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