News & Events

Lecture: Have Universities Lost Their Way?

Colleges and universities in the West derive from medieval bodies established primarily for teaching and training (principally in law and medicine). Their purposes were established by reference to a common culture, common goals, and a common source of normative authority. By stages, things changed with the reformation and the development of civic universities.

The first colleges in North America, however, were again religious foundations based on the liberal arts. The 19th century saw serious questioning about the purposes and nature of higher education giving rise to some important debates and reforms. In the 20th century the trend has been to mass participation; and now in the 21st a number serious questions again arise about the current purposes and future viability of universities.

Economic, social and technological changes create the need and the opportunity to question existing assumptions. Is the goal of mass higher education reasonable? What good are universities to society? What values underlie higher education? Is research best done in universities? Might research be the enemy of scholarship? Can public universities survive?

Accomplished Professor of Philosophy John Haldane, from the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom will address these matters from historical, educational, philosophical and political perspectives suggesting that the structure of higher education is over-extended and rests on shifting terrain making the possibility of collapse a real danger.

Please join us for this compelling event at the Hillel House.

Event details.