A Vision: The Idea of a University in the Present Age

[Download the PDF version or read the full text below. Updated from previously published version in Organization, May 2001; vol. 8: pp. 403 – 415.]

Abstract. My vision for the future university acknowledges the facts of rapid change in the world. It attempts to conserve the idea of the university as structures and process by centering the university on a study of changes as they are redefining knowledge. As vision, it asks that faculties join in Centers for the Study of the Present Age to discuss, teach and attempt to shape the futures of Science and Technology and their ramifications. Key words. future university; new vision; re-center the university; study of present age

The vision: when I speak and think of the university, I have in mind the largest institution, the greatest number of students at all levels, professional as much as academic; graduate and postgraduate, as well as undergraduate.

The curriculum is at its maximum: some 150 subjects/disciplines in which one can garner a PhD. I have in mind, then, the largest public research universities, especially those which (also) educate their students to serve their states in the traditions of Land Grant: including agriculture and the mechanical arts.

While there are ample reasons to describe a private (research) university of fame or privilege as the descriptor of the university – say, the top of the pyramid of American universities, an Oxbridge or a Berlin – I think it important for our understanding of the present toward the future to consider the university serving the interests of the widest public or publics. In this setting, I intend to focus on the structure-processes of the institution, but particularly on how the idea of a university will intersect with, even help to define, the nature of the future.

I will therefore use the institution I know best – the University of Minnesota located in that urban cultural oasis of Minneapolis and St Paul (the Twin Cities) – as example and metaphor. I will propose a new vision in the development of a truly important University of Minnesota: The Study of the Present Age (Kierkegaard, 1940).[1]

Whether this vision might apply to privately endowed universities – we shall see. Whether more than one university will survive? – this we shall also see. Whether Minnesota is metaphor or reality? – time will tell.  We all find ourselves afloat in a sea of market-driven forces in this moment of hype and reality of an online Phoenix University and the recently globalized university where the very idea of a university is constructed as new products for whatever its markets will turn out to be. I oppose the idea that the market alone will determine the nature of the university.

This vision is simple in its statement. The present University of Minnesota will expand to include and center itself about the Study of the Present Age. A number of Centers will be created which will literally study, discuss, publish in the contexts of the most important issues of these times. Minnesota will be the place where the changing and continuing world is studied, criticized, shaped.

Primary will be the Center of the Study of Science and Technology as they are developing and changing the very ways in which we operate and think about being: new products, new ideas, even moving our ideas of reality from the world or from texts to whatever virtual will mean: media…and. Other Centers will include the Study of a Sustainable World; Life in the World’s Cities; the Changing Nature of Work; Curing and Teaching; Globalization; the Crisis in Meaning; Ageing and Sageing; Integrative Studies. There may be other suggestions.

There will be a Provost or Vice-President who leads this Center for the Study of the Present Age; and there will be an intellectual leader or coordinator as well. All the present faculty of the university will be included within it for perhaps 10–20 percent of their time; to join it at different points, and for varying lengths of time.[2]

The curriculum of the university as it exists at present – especially in the Liberal Arts and Sciences – will (thus) be preserved. The undergraduate students will be educated broadly in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. But they will also be educated to be able to join in discussions in various of the Centers for the Study of the Present Age, at a high critical and intellectual level. To enable this, I propose a pedagogical-dialogic interactive approach to critical thinking.[3]

Centering the university round the Center for the Study of the Present Age, the central and current ideas and disciplines of the university will be preserved, essentially. Otherwise the idea of a university will drift with the winds and currents of monies, politics and, possibly, religion: the worries of permeability of integrity and academic freedom so carefully pondered by Hofstadter and Metzger (1955).

Our students – or, as they now say, consumers or products – will be quite capable in the context of (what I call) an unscripted time,[4] as they will be broadly educated, with an emphasis on critical and creative thinking; able to think-out the world as it happens, and to perform within it at fairly advanced levels. Otherwise, the temptation in a time of great change is to derogate the history of the idea of the university, and to train rather than to educate students for a changing and clamoring market. The Study of the Present Age can both preserve the sense of the larger curriculum and provide for futurity and, to the extent that we develop an important University of Minnesota, it will also do much to shape that futurity.

I think that the Idea of a University in the Present Age likely will occur in an urban context, which can accommodate and attract the kinds of enterprises and businesses which these Centers will spawn; more than, say, Amherst, Madison, or Ithaca.

The moment seems ripe for the development of this vision. There is a large pool of older faculty-thinkers-wise-persons from around the world who could contribute to such an idea: many of the more creative minds have been forced to be quite narrow in their work, and would welcome the challenges of broad and critical thinking.[5] Many of them have fairly nice pensions, would require less compensation, and could contract to develop, lead, and contribute to such a global enterprise. They also would be attracted to a cultural center such as the Twin Cities. Many of them could also attract funding and followings in the context of an important University of Minnesota.

Similarly, a number of commercial enterprises would find it important to partake in these critical discussions with us. As we will attract many of the best critics, say, of biotechnology and virtual reality, so various businesses will find it most advantageous to discuss developing and changing issues in the areas of our Centers’ concentrations; more reasons to be located in an urban setting.

Early Brief Courses could be presented to entering students: An Introduction to the University; Culture and Technology; a Brief Course on America in company with entering International Students (a speciality of mine).[6]

Education would be directly, perhaps primarily, toward the students being able to enter into discussion in the various Centers at a thoughtful level. As the Centers both reflect and intersect the changing world, the criterion of students entering the conversations would be a good measure of educational quality and utility, enhancing their ability to enter the world as educated and critically thoughtful persons.

The University of Minnesota is sufficiently large to accommodate the Study of the Present Age, and is quite possibly geared for a large change as it seems to find itself at a moment of declining resources and reputation, a sense that the future is also likely to decline from a formerly great university, to a pretty good one, to…

So: the Vision!

Context and Setting: Gradual Changes Since the 1950s

As the world is enmeshed in torrents of change, the very idea of the university is also much in flux. Newman’s ‘winds from the North’ (Newman, 1976) – from industrial England of the 19th century – invade both our thinking and the funding of the institutions which until fairly recently seemed somewhat removed from the currents of ordinary life: the Ivory Tower now overgrown with weeds, hanging vines; exposed to the elements.

But it is not only money which offers – or threatens – to alter the university. There is a much larger set of changes which challenge the very idea of a university as it has endured with some centrality and continuity of purpose from Plato’s Academy to these times. I am thus cautious about the ideas of the university which we all bring to this discussion.

Some of these changes have occurred fairly gradually, if profoundly. As example, I take it for granted that the university is primarily its faculties and curricula. But most people seem to locate the idea of the university in its organization or administration. And many of the changes of the past generation seem to remain outside our thinking as they characterize the university as most of us have actually experienced it. Which/whose idea of the university are we attempting to preserve or reinvent?

So this section will be a brief analysis of changes that have already occurred by the time most of us got to experience the university.

The very nature of work is undergoing a change – literally – as great as the Industrial Revolution and the technological developments of the 19th century. The rising power of the sciences and engineering – more recently biology – the decline of the liberal arts, as well as the sense of the importance of a university degree in order to find mostly monetary success in the working world . . . all this has backgrounded ideas of a good, contemplative, educated life, or of the education of the good citizen (almost gone from the modern secular university). Perhaps this is driven much by the fading of the very idea of the nation-state with such vast sums of money passing across the world each day (Readings, 1996).

In the context of work and education, numbers of students who attend the university increased radically during the moment of the maturing baby boomers in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Minnesota, for example, increased its student population from about 17,000 to 35,000 in just four years: 1958–62. The idea of leadership of the university was radically altered in that moment of necessity in managing such multitudes.

Federal and foundation funds increased after World War II, but especially after Sputnik in 1957, paralleling and driving the vast increases in attendance. Any community of scholars as it may have existed prior to that moment in Newman’s sense (Newman, 1953), splintered into those areas where there was external funding and those which had none. The Institute of Technology at the Minnesota literally stole the hard sciences from Science and Liberal Arts (SLA) in the late 1950s, and biology went its own ways to affiliate with medicine or agriculture. The two-culture split between sciences and humanities, noted by C.P. Snow already by 1959 (Snow, 1964), persists to this day. Faculties went their own ways. The only common interest or issue, already by 1963, was that of finding parking spaces (Kerr, 1963).

In the 1960s, the rise of grantsmanship further splintered the faculty into individuated entrepreneurs, as careerism gradually replaced vocationalism.

And, in the early 1970s, when the expanded and newly created institutions slowed down their expansions, administration consolidated its hold on the university.[7]

I think it was during this period that the structural idea of departments overtook the more conceptual notion of disciplines. Whereas disciplines developed and largely remain the outcome of particular questions, problems, or issues, departments are collectivities whose identity has become largely bureaucratic; places to house faculty whose power and importance are directly related to the size of its budget, more than to any intellectual import of its disciplined-thinking.

Whenever – perhaps especially now – that the society (government, foundations, especially corporations) wants new or other questions addressed, the department has often been found to be intransigent and closed-in. The obvious solution has been to direct research across or among multi-disciplines. But the actuality of multi or interdisciplinary work often disregards or loses the centrality of disciplined thinking, as it often directs itself to externally generated problematics. Current pressures on the idea of a university, then, seem to be largely integrative: trying to construct an administrative soul for a very loose collectivity in which department backgrounds discipline.

While much of this seems obvious and productive, there is often a loss of history and reason for differently disciplined thinking, at least some of which seems to be at the heart of the Liberal Arts. The question of the future of the university surely involves questions of the importance or integrity of disciplined thinking across a vast curriculum. As example, much of botany and zoology have literally been replaced or overtaken by microbiology, the biology of the cell; a form of chemistry which is certainly both important and yielding of monies. But many important questions about humanity and life have simply disappeared, unasked: morphology, taxonomy. Geography, physiology, philosophy seem about to fade, as well.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the very nature of administration changed in what Bruce Wilshire characterized as the moral collapse of the university when administrators began reading paper more than judging the quality of their faculties, or asking questions about knowledge and the meaning of the university (Wilshire, 1990).

During this time, there was also a democratization of the university: first, ethnic Europeans (primarily male Catholics and Jews), then (mostly white, younger) women, and not so many persons of color. While this was a wonderful and democratizing occurrence, I think that these events took notice away from the administrative and bureaucratic changes that were also occurring. One result was that there has been very little criticism of the idea of the university during this period. Another has been the training of most administrators to think of the university as effectively without much sense of purpose: to judge one’s own institution with respect to others, more than with respect to some idea of what a university ought to be and do.

Another aspect of the democratization was the vast increase in the numbers of students who came to the university, also contributing to its bureaucratization. The notion of a credential gradually began to replace the idea of an education (Kerr, 1991). A degree – any degree – replaced most deeper questions of the meaning of an education. As a result, the institution became increasingly opaque to the multitudes of students (parents and community, as well) as the faculty gradually disappeared into their productive modes.[8] The sense of isolation in universities increased markedly for students – perhaps more particularly for faculty.

Visibility and image – as in the media – overtook the harder work of personal judgment. University presidents began to look at other places a bit better – a bit worse® – to see where their institutions (and careers) were situated (Cohen and March, 1974). This set up and continues to confirm the current pyramid of universities in which reputation largely determines quality, while actual work is done for like-minded colleagues in other places. Little occurs in one’s home department or university of any institutional value. Visibility and celebrity have overtaken authority… One could go on.

Related is the rise of the knowledge society in which our Colleges of Education see information, access, and use of knowledge as keys to a good education. Teachers who might purvey wisdom have become managers and facilitators as the importance of education as a profession has dwindled. John Dewey’s School of Education at the University of Chicago was phased out recently – placing an apostrophe on an era when we might have had a dialogical interchange with a sage. This is to say that information and knowledge have overtaken education as wisdom has faded from our ideas of the course of a long life: something about the technologicalization and bureaucratization of life.

All this analysis affirms that the current wonderings about the future of knowledge and the university are set within an institution which hasn’t thought too much about questions of its meaning since at least the early 1970s. My concern is that we are asking questions about futurity within a model of the university and knowledge that has been running as much on inertia as substance for quite a while.

The Recent Past

None of this analysis of the depth of change should be understood as a downgrading of any current sense of crisis and sudden change that have been occurring within the university. To return briefly to the vision of the Present Age, it is the pace and directions of change which have moved me to suggest that the central function of the important University of Minnesota will be to study seriously the changing nature of these times.

Where to begin? . . . a crisis in meaning (Sarles, 2001). This crisis – first noted by Nietzsche well over a century ago as the rise in ‘European nihilism’ (Nietzsche, 1968) – has deepened. Television is a prime suspect in which authority has been replaced by celebrity. The pursuit of truth, and that faculty and universities can certify it as such, has weakened considerably. Techniques of revisionism such as Spin and PR are by now so common as to be cliche.  Fame and becoming a star professor is the current measure of competitive quality. A much longer story, but central to our concerns.

Here the Internet and email have opened up opportunities for us to communicate easily and rapidly. No paper necessary to communicate all across the world – to develop conferences, to arrange…whatever. The downside is that questions of truth and authority become more in flux. Truth, logic, knowledge, reality?…Whew!

The idea that the world is politics/economics (in either order) – and nothing else – also seems increasingly attractive, and awaits (new?) theories of global governance, whenever an apparently insatiable capitalism must eventually(!) overstep itself. This, too, is a developing current of postmodernism, in which most left-leaning neo-neo-Marxists are searching against, but also for, new directions. Within the context of the meaning of the university, however, the notion that all is politics/economics tends to be undermining.[9]

As I often taught the Sciences and the Humanities course at Minnesota, and as I have that on my mind: whatever ‘postmodernism’ may mean or convey, the rifts between science and humanities have deepened a good deal. I characterize the differences being between the World-as-Text and the Text-as-World. As technology continues to rise with amazing power, science is backgrounded, and the notion of narrative – that all is talk about, but any real-reality is located in texts – seems very attractive.

The rise of religious fundamentalism is related – as such thinkers are actually scholars of religious texts, which they use to determine/specify the ongoing reality: thus, the Text-as-World. None of this can be overestimated in its possible powers. The intellectual impact of this is to replace ideas of history and linear development of our being with concepts derived from prophets whose sayings may overtake all of thinking (Sarles, 1999).

The Future

It hasn’t helped that science (thus rationality, and the politics of liberalism and democracy) is increasingly seen as self-serving: scientists working for/with corporations that fund research at universities more cheaply than they could do it. Isn’t everyone for sale?[10]

Aren’t our deans all urging us to apply for grants, never mind questions of integrity? Who can judge quality, anyway? And endowed professorships seem fairly open to those who can pay the prevailing price: professorial stars; or ideologues?

Increasing senses of globality have entered our thinking and actualities.  Movements of vast sums of money each day and night have helped blur the conceptual boundaries that we have called nation-states. Bill Readings (1996) wondered poignantly if the Kantian idea of the rational university which would teach the citizen of the rational state is now passé, and its meaning adrift. Where, then, may the idea of a university locate itself?

Relations between structures of economic and social life now rise into contestation, as transnational corporations operate between and around the concepts of nationhood and law. This further destabilizes or blurs our positioning in the world.

Within the recent rise of cosmology, the sense of our being has diminished radically. After a few centuries of forms of humanism which urged us to center our being upon our lives and our experience, we find ourselves in the vast universes of sci-fi and more blurring of boundaries: in these contexts, between life and death, and the questioning of the meaning of life being determined outside of our very existence.[11]

One more arena of large change in the academy – one which has reflexes of a cycle from the late 19th century. We can note that the amazing concentration upon money as the measure of the quality of life, the developments which drove the ‘Re-Organizing Knowledge’ conference, (where this essay was published) also led in the 19th century to the kinds of biology, evolutionary psychology, and neurology of determinism, which are in increasing vogue right now: then they called it eugenics.

Here again, the temptation to ask questions of meaning of our lives and of the university, are obscured in the excitement of MRIs (magnetic resonance – brain – imagings) and the idea that we are close to finally solving the problem of the human. Evolutionary psychology – by any name – is very similar to the Social Darwinism which accompanied the Gilded Age and Robber Barons of the 19th century. Much of it seems like politics in the name of science, especially if one takes seriously the political applications of eugenic theories in Hitler’s realms. As an increasing portion of our being is being seen as predetermined by our genes, the nature of our actual experience is background and unimportant, or uninteresting…or not-psychology or not-biology.

As money replaces meaning, and the game goes to the most competitive, the notion that these aspects of our being are particularly hereditary becomes first interesting, then compelling. Education is directed toward success; success determined by the opportunities and fads of each day. And the idea of a university floats…

If the experience of the early 20th century parallels the excesses of the current love-affair with money, here at least there is some direction: some form of retrieve or return to a progressive pragmatism along the lines of thought of John Dewey et al. (Hofstadter, 1992: Chapter 7).

What this presages is an increasing concern with experience and doing, replacing the sense that how we got here is more determining than how we experience and live our lives. And we have to re-earn some of the authority which has so diminished in this era of celebrity and consumerism.

Conclusion: The Study of the Present Age

Much of this analysis of the university and the contexts in which it finds itself, our wonderings about the future of knowledge and of the idea of a university, seem to be as much in flux as one can imagine. It is primarily for this reason that my vision of the Study of the Present Age seems like a good path for solution to the future university. In this essay, I’ve taken the position that the Idea of the University remains an important one, both in developing and preserving.

I assume, believe, trust, as well, that there must remain some deep sense of integrity to the institution; that we can and must pursue the truth. I don’t mind the polemics or arguments – at least most of them. The splits between the sciences and the humanities, and the curses or cries of joy of postmodernism, rifts like those between the notions of rationality which abound in economics, psychiatry, philosophy, and law, seem to me really interesting. I try to study and discuss them.

Except: they get very little public discussion and less awareness. We have tended to retreat into our protective and protected spaces, rather than explore and confront those who are different from us, or those who disagree with us. The politics of academe are not always pretty. But I think that the differences and depths of disciplined thinking remain very important in the human condition. And I remain somewhat confident that disagreements or passings-by can be brokered, understood, sometimes reconciled; but not within the currents of isolation which presently make the university easier to administer or to compete with others.

There are, in fact, several universities within the one that is the University of Minnesota. For example, many of the disciplines promote thinking which depends on case studies and abstracts to generalities later (Law, Medicine, Anthropology, Engineering and in some ways the Humanities often use texts as cases), while others begin abstractly and come to specifics much later (maths, physics, much of biology). In this context, the notion of theory is often used as a bludgeon, a bit of politics attempting to raise the import of certain studies, persons, or claims, while the theorists often relegate the case studiers to lesser status.

It is similar with those who tend toward the analytic and reductionistic talking past their colleagues who are more holistic. In this context, there are palpable cycles whose patron saint may be likened to Humpty-Dumpty. Here, philosophy is presently seen as coming to an analytic impasse, with a call back to a renewed American Pragmatism.[12]

We have also been creating institutional distance and disparity between research and teaching, stemming from the 1960s, but continuing.  In our recent attempts to distinguish the university from (apparently) competing private and public colleges, we have been playing games with teaching, making it burden more than joy. In the Center for the Study of the Present Age, students will want to study with the best thinkers, not merely seek the easiest or most convenient credentials. Lecturing with Power Point is most often telling much more than it is teaching.

I have to think that good management can enable us to get beyond the social definitions of whose teaching, thinking, knowledge is more important, simply by virtue of their belonging to a field which is currently prestigious/hot. All of this tends toward the bureaucratic, neither attractive nor intelligible. Vast differences in pay scales represent image and visibility and the incursions of markets, and continue to erode the institution. And this has also contributed to the notion that credentials are more important than education.

Not! – at an important University of Minnesota.

The Study of the Present Age admits-commits to the idea that the world is changing very rapidly and in ways that we cannot fully understand or penetrate in any moment. The Present Age is a concept that may enable us to grasp the present, and to move it toward the futurity of its students (what parents, community, legislator, businesses really desire – they’re running scared for their childrens’ futures!). In an unscripted world, the university has to become and remain some sort of anchor.

It is necessary to be the important University of Minnesota, because we have to have (earn and assert) sufficient authority to continue to claim to be persons who profess and pursue truth. It seems OK not to know everything at once . . . if we can show that we possess and continue to pursue the wisdom(s) of this time and of all of time.

The Center for the Study of the Present Age is a concept (soon, we hope, to be a reality) that will study, monitor, critique, and interact with these times. It will engage the entire faculty in a joint enterprise and regain us the sense that we are a community of scholars: in it the distinctions between research-scholarship, teaching, and service will meld into a singular pursuit.

The university must remain open to various communities, inviting them to participate and join us on occasion. Here, I include the global community, perhaps especially those persons of wisdom from the entire world who wish to continue their pursuits in conjoint contexts.

Leadership will be paramount. A central commitment – of the President or Chancellor – is crucial because she or he will have to have sufficient nerve to take Minnesota away from the secure comforts of pyramidal location (a pretty good university – e.g., 3rd best public research university), and to take or support us as we go our own way. Similarly, parents, students, citizens, legislators will have to swallow deeply as we all have to relocate ourselves globally, then locally. And we have to adjust to the conceptual sense that Internet, email, and virtual reality are us.

We will have to rethink our ideas of ageing, ageing faculty and the ageing of the developed world with some study of the traditions in which teacher-as-sage is the direction and path of a very good life (Peterson, 1999).

All of this will be done with the integrative sense that disciplined thinking can be done within the contexts of particular ideas, problems, and histories. It is paramount that some of us can explore, broker, and explain the nature of knowledge and the broad curriculum with and to one another.

The Study of the Present Age will preserve the idea of a university by entering the world at a level and in senses where we can do what it is important to do, as much in our own terms as possible: call it the pursuit of wisdom in changing times. We do this by studying and critiquing the world as it is occurring: carefully, well, thoughtfully, continually. We will need constructive criticism from the global community – and hope that they will join us frequently in our deliberations.

In this way, we will also be able to preserve, conserve, continue the Liberal Arts and Sciences as they pursue knowledge in their variously disciplined modes and manners. The curriculum is vast, often competitive, and whether it serves the futures of our students is at much risk in the momentariness of vogues, fads, and ready markets.

I hope that having a Center that pulls everyone together some of the time will enable us to know and to study one another, and to stop much of the splinterings and talkings-past that have characterized the bureaucratization of the university in the past few decades. Careers belong to the ephemeral world and political economies, so we have to reinvent the pursuit of character and of vocation, which will help us to be models for and inspirers of our students.

It is we, the thinkers, the teachers, those of us who attempt to be real professors who can attempt to guarantee or underwrite the sense that students’ futures can remain hopeful and doable. It is the Idea of a University in the Present Age which is the vision for this coming reality.


[1] Kierkegaard’s principal critique is of the rise of bureaucratic thought and thinking. In this context I have crafted an analysis of the University: “The Nature of the University: Bureaucratization of the Mind and of Knowledge.” (ms)

[2] The faculty will also be asked to develop their own – new or renewed – plans for their future work: one-, two-, five-, 10-year projections. Within disciplines and/or across disciplines.

[3] My own thought and work in teaching has been interactive, toward the Deweyan idea of becoming a self-thinker, an autodidact (see Sarles: “Teaching as Dialogue”).

[4]. I mean by ‘an unscripted time’ that the future looms without much certitude about potential or real vocations or careers which the university qua university can train them toward. In a world in which ‘temps’ are the leading career at present, and even some professions (e.g. medicine) are changing almost daily, it is unclear that the largely historical university can train students and retain any sense of its integrity or reason for being. Much of this discussion hinges about the perception of the pace and depth of changes which we are presently experiencing. I presume that we must educate students to be able to deal with their futurities, irrespective of the university’s particularities.

[5] I don’t mean that this envisioned university will be a mere retirement haven for ex-academics.  Rather, it will draw the very limited number of older persons whom we can think of as master teachers or sages in the contexts of other traditions in the world which have highly respectful wisdom traditions of ageing.

[6] I taught such a course for several years to incoming Foreign Fulbright Graduate students from all over the world, and propose it as a good introduction both to our own history and to global thinking (see Sarles, 1998).

[7] I note with dismay that there are very few (any?) current university presidents who have national intellectual stature.

[8] My metaphor continues to be the curriculum handbook of the University of Wisconsin Madison when our son went there in the early 1980s: 135 pages of majors and courses and not a single mention of any faculty. Not one!

[9] I usually agree with postmodernists that politics are involved in almost everything, but think that, with ongoing awareness and cultural critique, much of the politics can be overcome; cf., this essay.

[10] Personal communication, Philip Regal, a now retired ecologist at Minnesota, and a close colleague. He was at one time the lead scientist in a lawsuit directed against the FDA to require the Government to label all genetically altered foods…(Oh well!)

[11] In a recent course, I taught ‘Philosophy’ to a group of middle-school children. I observed that these arenas (stories, movies, videos, games) pervade their thinking, most of it remaining floating and uninterpreted (Minneapolis Metropolitan School).

[12] Donald Davidson, a leading analytic philosopher, made just this point in a series of lectures at the University of Minnesota in 1998: ‘The Resurrection of Truth’ pointed back to the work of Pragmatists, particularly John Dewey.


Cohen, M.D. and March, J.G. (1974) Leadership and Ambiguity: The American College President. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Hofstadter, R. and Metzger, W. (1955) The Development of Academic Freedom in the United States. New York: Columbia University Press.

Hofstadter, R. (1992) ‘The Current of Pragmatism’, in Hofstadter, R. Social Darwinism in American Thought. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Kerr, C. (1963) The Uses of the University. New York: Harper & Row.

Kerr, C. (1991) The Great Transformation in Higher Education: 1960–1980. Albany: SUNY Press.

Kierkegaard, S. (1940) The Present Age and Two Minor Ethico-religious Treatises.

Translated by A. Dru and W. Lowrie. London: Oxford University Press.

Newman, J.H. (1953) University Sketches. Dublin: Browne & Nolan.

Newman, J.H. (1976) The Idea of a University: Defined and Illustrated. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Nietzsche, F. (1968) The Will to Power. New York: Vintage.

Peterson, P.G. (1999) Gray Dawn: How the Coming Age Wave will Transform America – and the World. New York: Times Books.

Readings, B. (1996) The University in Ruins. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Sarles, H.B. (1993) Teaching as Dialogue. A Teacher’s Study. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Sarles, H.B. (1998) ‘Explaining Ourselves through Others. Cultural Visions: A Mini Course on America”, in J.A. Mestenhauser and B.J. Ellingboe Reforming the Higher Education Curriculum: Internationalizing the Campus, pp. 135–49.  Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press.

Sarles, H.B. (2010ms) Prediction! or Prophecy?

Sarles, H.B. (2001) Nietzsche’s Prophecy: The Crisis in Meaning. Buffalo, NY: Humanity Press.

Snow, C.P. (1964) The Two Cultures and a Second Look: An Expanded Version of the Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wilshire, B. (1990) The Moral Collapse of the University: Professionalism, Purity, and Alienation. Albany: SUNY Press.

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  • Karl Rogers


    As you know, I have read your very interesting Vision paper several times, have been disseminating it, and have much to talk to you about it…

    Here I just wanted to comment briefly on the youtube clip.

    It is very interesting, but I found it to be actually quite disturbing, it gave me a sense of motion sickness, which I think reflects very well on the editing of this clip. It made the hairs on my neck stand on end.

  • Karl Rogers


    As you know, I have read your very interesting Vision paper several times, have been disseminating it, and have much to talk to you about it…

    Here I just wanted to comment briefly on the youtube clip.

    It is very interesting, but I found it to be actually quite disturbing, it gave me a sense of motion sickness, which I think reflects very well on the editing of this clip. It made the hairs on my neck stand on end.