The Compleat Academic: An Informal Guide to the Ivory Tower


In this essay I examine the nature of the university as a working institution devoted to higher learning, and the implications of its inability to do all the things that society requires at this level. My original objective was to examine the component parts of the university alone, to d escribe their form , their function, and the way in which they mesh together to form a recognizable and effective whole. In particular I examined various possible ways in which each would have a specific effect on the workings of the totality. But I felt that this was an idle and dull exercise if carried out with some norm of operational efficiency, without taking into account the central goals of the university. It is here analyzed as a unique institution, ideally differentiated from all other forms of higher education. The main contribution of the essay, as I saw it, was to make its characteristics and goals specific and conscious, and to judge the impact of the operations by examining whether they contributed for better or for worse to the achievement of the goals; and whether or not they were in tune with a university's characteristics

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