Universities: who calls the tune?,
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This review is from: What are Universities For? (Paperback)Collini is saying essentially that the purpose of universities is all the things that they may reasonably choose to undertake. Underlying this are: that the life of the mind is a key element in humanity; that, even when usefulness to society may weigh in consideration of what should most receive support and funding, prediction of effectiveness is very hard; that universities are generally staffed by(highly) intelligent and conscientious people who will reach good decisions. The backgound to his efort in this book is what many see as increasingly instrumentalist approaches by governments determined to push university endeavour towards the potentially economically useful: in pursuit of which aim they insist on the application of mechanistic measurement, which is often misleading and always effort-consuming. While Collini is concerned particularly with work in the humanities, the argument runs wider.
We are in deep waters here: communication between author and lay reader is not easily achieved. And many will continue determined not to listen let alone engage in argument. But Collini does well by any anyone willing to give time and attention to working thru what he carefully expounds and discusses.