The Idea of the University: the University in Crisis?
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University websites tell us that universities are wonderful in every way. Governments declare that their higher education policies have been hugely successful. The achievements of students are indeed remarkable. But much recent academic work argues that universities today are in crisis, and many of the people who teach and research in universities agree. So, is there a crisis and should we be worried? I will approach these questions by looking at past ideas about the nature of universities and what they’re for. I will argue that if we compare the old ideas and the new, the position of the student is what’s at stake, and that the future of universities depends on how students choose to talk about them, on the idea of the university that they embrace.
Image credit: Bristol University Resistance.