Multiverse: Egalitarian Frankenstein

The ends are already given—the preservation of the eternal truths, the creation of new knowledge, the improvement of service wherever truth and knowledge of high order may serve the needs of man. The ends are there; the means must be ever improved in a competitive dynamic environment.

Although to me, the term “multiversity” seems uninspired, almost an off the cuff term, Clark Kerr in the Chapters 1 and 3 of his monograph The Uses of the University makes a compelling argument for the inevitable rebranding of the institution of higher education we continue to call the University. The university, he writes “is so many things to so many different people that it must, of necessity, be partially at war with itself.” Tracing the history of higher learning from its medieval roots to the well-known cloistered institutions of Oxford and Cambridge, to the modern university seated in Berlin, onward to the American system, Kerr tactfully brings us to the cusp of our current system and stops there. He covers so much ground in the process, I found it was useful to start grouping his metaphors and key terms into blocks.

Idea of a University:
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2 thoughts on “Multiverse: Egalitarian Frankenstein

  1. I totally agree with your argument. On the other hand, disentangling higher education and the pursuit of ancient truths from the world of work has its own perils, one of which is alienation. The out-of-touch scholar in the Ivory Tower has been a satirical figure since the medieval period. Whether or not it accurately reflects the nature of scholars and scholarship (at least, for the most part) has also been debated for ages. But perhaps that’s not as relevant a question as whether or not it accurately reflects the perceptions of those who see themselves on the outside. How do you dissolve those perceived boundaries and remain inclusive in a complex society? Even a mythical “classless society” wouldn’t achieve that. (Stalin and Mao Zedong didn’t even try.)

  2. Tracing the metaphors used for the university, in this article and in others we have read for class, seems to reveal quite a bit about the points-of-views underpinning the analysis and historicization of the university. I’m also struck by the move to management rule of the university and how this seems to be one of the strategic responses to the rising activism of the 60s.

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