14.0555 corporate universities, industrial vs face-to-face

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 12/10/00

  • Next message: by way of Willard McCarty: "14.0558 universities, Newman, Internet teaching"

                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 555.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
       [1]   From:    Eric Johnson <johnsone@jupiter.dsu.edu>             (30)
             Subject: John Henry Newman
       [2]   From:    lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)      (73)
             Subject: Re: 14.0552 corporate universities
       [3]   From:    Randall Pierce <rpierce@jsucc.jsu.edu>               (6)
             Subject: The Corporate University
             Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 18:58:57 +0000
             From: Eric Johnson <johnsone@jupiter.dsu.edu>
             Subject: John Henry Newman
         Robert J. O'Hara asked about the source of a quotation:
    something to the effect that a university is "an Alma Mater, knowing her
    children one by one, and not a factory, or a mint, or a treadmill."  (If
    Cardinal Newman were around today, he would no doubt add that it is not
    a McDonalds or a Pizza Hut, either.)
    O'Hara was correct in supposing that the quotation is from Cardinal
    Newman's _The Idea of a University_.  The exact quotation is this: "A
    University is, according to the usual designation, an Alma Mater, knowing
    her children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a treadmill."  It is
    at the end of section 8 of Discourse VI.
         As I said in an online conference paper, Newman's thoughts are also
    relevant to teaching via Internet.   In 1854, John Henry Newman argued
    that a university education must be gained in classrooms, and that books
    were not an adequate substitute for face-to-face contact with a teacher.
    What he said of books is true of Internet teaching: "No [Internet
    teaching] can get through the number of minute questions which it is
    possible to ask on any extended subject, or can hit upon the very
    difficulties which are severally felt by each [student] in succession. Or
    again, that no [Internet teaching] can convey the special spirit and
    delicate peculiarities of its subject with that rapidity and certainty
    which attend on the sympathy of the mind with mind, through the eyes, the
    look, the accent, and the manner, in casual expressions thrown off at the
    moment, and the unstudied turns of familiar conversation . . . . The
    general principles of any study you may learn by [Internet teaching] at
    home; but the detail, the color, the tone, the air, the life which makes
    it live in us, you must catch all these from those in whom it lives
    already." ("The Rise and Progress of Universities")
         --Eric Johnson
             Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 18:59:11 +0000
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Re: 14.0552 corporate universities
    Leo Klein's anecdote about poetry being essential to programmers reminds
    me of Scoville's "Elements of Style: UNIX as literature" (for knowledge of
    which I am thankful to Patrick Durusau's posting to Humanist in 1998).
    Just for the record
      > In Humanist 14.0506 Francois Lachance finds in my posting
    It was the juxtapositon of your posting with Leo's that made me find
    (invent?) the assumptions that kicked off my mediation.
    [Digression: Tis rathering interesting that manuscript studies are
    focussing upon what goes with what -- the contingencies of collecting and
    binding. To quote a pamphlet from the Perdita project: "Recent scholarship
    has recommend a shift in the focus of manuscript research from the
    establishment of 'authoritative' texts to the historical circumstances of
    manscript compilation and circulation. [...] Manuscript compilations offer
    particular problems of interpretation." More information on the Perdita
    Project is accessible from the following URL
    To what extent bundles of electronic postings can be considered
    collections governed by conventions remains an open question. ]
    Reflecting upon your example of an institution re-aligning its program, I
    still do not quite understand how a discourse that stresses difference
    will manage to set aside the impact of affect, allegiance and prejudice in
    any intended decision-making audience in a social enviroment driven by
    imperatives of change, innovation, reinvention. I am trying to suggest
    that the very invocation of a substantial difference between practice and
    theory, between the liberal and mechanical arts, is a driver in the push
    to rationalize the educational system. I'm not sure that a discourse of
    difference will create the necessary inter-institutional alliances that
    will sport resistence.
    Arguing for the necessity of diversity at the level of a system may be a
    way to mitigate the competition induced the economics of scarity being
    played by the purse string holders. Arguing for a robust redundancy may be
    a better strategy. Not only should the system afford duplication of
    programs. It is vital that such duplication be created and maintained in
    order to establish the critical mass of people and activity that leads to
    inspiring accomplishments. How do you fund a network?
    Stephen Erhmann in "Asking the Right Question: what does research tell us
    about technology and higher learning?"
    points out "that most institutions of higher education are facing a Triple
    Challenge of outcomes, accessibility, and costs."
    Somewhere someone must have proposed that greater accessibility drives
    down costs because a more accessible system leads to a more educated
    population creates greater wealth which can subsidize the educational
    system. Somewhere some economist has such traced synergistic relations.
    Everywhere there are people without children who enthusiastically support
    schools (and do not mind paying taxes to do so). Everywhere there are
    people with children who support school systems that provide adult
    There is a non-eschatological argument that justifies the funding of a
    strong educational infrastructure not from what people will do with an
    education, not from what they will become, but from what people are doing
    while they are in the process of active learning.
    Some while ago, Willard, you posted a message to Humanist that invited us
    to think about each machine being an experiment, each program being an
    experiment. Can the global economy afford not to invest in experiments? I
    know this has shifted the question somewhat from the focus on commercial
    interests in the educational sector. [I'm still avoiding some of the
    initial terminology : I've yet to find a university that is not a
    corporation.] I hope the shift helps bring to the debate a recognition
    that information technology can help institutions with a great experiment
    in profit sharing and reinvestment -- a redistribution of intellectual
    wealth if you will. The value of the publicly-accountable and stable nodes
    in such a distribution network depends in part on the volitility of the
    private providers (and the non-transparency of their operations).
    BTW, many of the graduates from the publicly-accountable and stable nodes
    will seek and find employment in the more volitile spaces. What then of
    arguments based on difference?
    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    Member of the Evelyn Letters Project
             Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 18:59:50 +0000
             From: Randall Pierce <rpierce@jsucc.jsu.edu>
             Subject: The Corporate University
    In his biography of his grandfather, the late Alabama Congressman George
    Huddleston, George Packer has some interesting insights into the origins of
    today's "Corporate Universities". On pages of 196-201 of "Blood of the
    Liberals", Mr. Packer  cites the contributions of Frederick Terman to the
    creation of a corporate mentality at Stanford University in California and
    his influence in the development of Silicon Valley. Thank you for your
    consideration. Randall

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