14.0543 corporate universities

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 12/04/00

  • Next message: by way of Willard McCarty: "14.0540 new book on visual intelligence"

                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 543.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
       [1]   From:    Leo Robert Klein <lk13@is2.nyu.edu>                 (32)
             Subject: Re: 14.0536 corporate universities & events relating
       [2]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>         (41)
             Subject: corporations and universities
             Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2000 17:36:23 +0000
             From: Leo Robert Klein <lk13@is2.nyu.edu>
             Subject: Re: 14.0536 corporate universities & events relating to
    on Sat, 02 Dec 2000, James L. Morrison wrote:
      > Jeanne Meister, president of Corporate University Xchange(CUX), who I
      > interviewed in the July/August 2000 issue of The Technology Source
      > (http://horizon.unc.edu/TS/vision/2000-07.asp) on the topic of corporate
      > universities, asked me to mention the first two CUX events of 2001. She
      > has offered a registration discount to TS readers.
      > I was impressed during my interview with Jeanne that there are currently
      > more than 1,600 organizations titled "corporate universities," "corporate
      > colleges," or "institutes for learning." She expects this number to rise
      > to more than 2,000 in the next few years, and forecasts that by the year
      > 2010 or so, corporate universities will outnumber traditional
      > universities. Both conferences feature today's most successful corporate
      > sector learning innovators addressing the issues that e-learners and those
      > organizations making the transition to e-learning are confronting and how
      > we can use this information to design online learning courses and
      > programs.
    "Managing education as a business project" (from the interview) isn't
    exactly the first thing that comes to my mind when contemplating a
    university education.  I mean, I wonder what the role of things like
    critical thinking and the liberal arts, free inquiry and, God forbid,
    dissent, are at places like this.  Or are those things to be relegated to
    poorly funded and all too easy to marginalize "public" institutions?  What's
    next -- what's the next cultural or social value not of one's own making
    that's going to be appropriated?  Religion?  Opps, I just remembered "Divine
    Right" George Baer.
    Leo Robert Klein                                   Library Web Coordinator
    home ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: http://patachon.com
    office ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: http://newman.baruch.cuny.edu
             Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2000 17:36:41 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: corporations and universities
    The idea of a corporate university is chilling to many of us for all the
    obvious reasons. Some of us work for small companies that are careful in
    their combination of research and profit-making, but I've seldom been
    encouraged to think that scholarly enquiry could survive for long in a
    corporate environment. This would appear to be borne out in the
    universities in which the curriculum is strongly influenced by the business
    world. My impression is that the business-orientated types don't have time
    for the asking of questions meant to problematise rather than solve
    problems. My impression is that they look on universities as skill-training
    centres, for which they are ill-suited.
    Perhaps a Sinologist will kindly correct me, but I do recall an anecdote
    about Confucius being asked what one change he would see made in the world;
    his answer was, that things be called by their correct names.
    Why, then, train someone how skillfully to push buttons and move a mouse,
    then give him or her a university degree? This seems to me madness on two
    First the skills-training isn't academic as such, so the degree is
    inappropriate. If the skills-training is embedded in and serves an academic
    purpose, as learning how to use Excel can serve the analysis of complex
    numerical data in a research project, or learning the ins and outs of a
    concordancer can serve the understanding of language, then fine. Our
    undergraduate minor programme at King's College London works in that way.
    But if a course trains students in Excel and Access, say, but gives them no
    experience in thinking critically with these tools, does not put a critical
    understanding of the limitations of computational methods centre stage,
    then to my mind the course does not belong in a university programme --
    however valuable, however well done, however popular. This leads me to my
    second point.
    Which is: "dignifying" skills-training by attaching an academic degree to
    it implicitly degrades the craft. It seems to me that it merely
    internalises a snobbish attitude toward skills and then makes a lunge for
    the coveted prize, which it thereby denegrates. Far better, it would seem
    to me, would be to recognise two very different kinds of training WITHOUT
    attributing social class to either.
    Dr Willard McCarty / Senior Lecturer /
    Centre for Computing in the Humanities / King's College London /
    Strand / London WC2R 2LS / U.K. /
    +44 (0)20 7848-2784 / ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : 12/04/00 EST