14.0546 corporate universities

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 12/07/00

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 546.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
       [1]   From:    "Norman D. Hinton" <hinton@springnet1.com>          (10)
             Subject: Re: 14.0543 corporate universities
       [2]   From:    "Michael S. Hart" <hart@prairienet.org>             (42)
             Subject: Re: 14.0543 corporate universities
       [3]   From:    mc9809@mclink.it                                    (96)
             Subject: corporate university: Dewey's response
       [4]   From:    lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)      (44)
             Subject: Re: 14.0543 corporate universities
             Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 07:39:47 +0000
             From: "Norman D. Hinton" <hinton@springnet1.com>
             Subject: Re: 14.0543 corporate universities
    I guess it depends on what those people mean by "university" --
    MacDonald's has run "Hamburger University" for many years, teaching
    people how to flip burgers without breaking them, how to avoid getting
    burned with deep-frying fat,  how to become an Assistant Manager, etc.
    I find that only amusing.
    I do think, though, that the chance that some CEO or other exec would be
    able to create a "real University" (or, from what I've seen of Colleges
    of Business including the one at my school) laughable and dismaying, and
    I wish we could nail down the rights to the word, as if it were a wine
             Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 07:40:07 +0000
             From: "Michael S. Hart" <hart@prairienet.org>
             Subject: Re: 14.0543 corporate universities
    On Mon, 4 Dec 2000, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
      > "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 
      > Right" George Baer.
      > LEO
    Much as I would like to agree with Leo's position here, I am afraid
    the degradation of the Liberal Arts is far ahead of what has been a
    consideration of any public forum such as this.
    I am sad to report, and have been for over a decade, that even that
    august institution known as Benedictine Univeristy, where I hang my
    professorial hat, has been organized for some time such that anyone
    can graduate without ever having read a single Shakespeare play.
    Personally, and professionally, I abhor the idea that Liberal Arts,
    such as they are, would not require the reading of even one single,
    solitary Shakespeare play, much less half a dozen.
    I remember reading Julius Caesar in 8th grade, and then it was just
    about always at least one more Shakespeare play per year.
    Well, I won't go on about it. . .but I DID receive my degree in:
    "Human-Machine Interfaces" from the College of Liberal Arts, at the
    Univerisity of Illinois, some three decades ago, simply because the
    UI didn't have the concept of the Computer Revolution at the time--
    but, if the truth be known, even though I tested out of English for
    the entire degree, I don't think that the courses I would have seen
    otherwise would have included any Shakespeare plays.
    Still. . .I just don't like the idea of a Liberal Arts degree, from
    such highly ranked institutions as the two I mentioned NOT having a
    requirement to be at least somewhat read in English literature.
    Alway nice to hear from you!
    Wishing You The Very Best For The Holidays,
    Michael S. Hart
    Project Gutenberg
    "Ask Dr. Internet"
    Executive Director
    Internet User ~#100
             Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 07:40:34 +0000
             From: mc9809@mclink.it
             Subject: corporate university: Dewey's response
    I agree with what Willard says (especially his second point).
    The idea of a corporate university is a chilling, though (I fear)
    inevitable one.
    We don't have to forget our responsabilities in this situation. What I
    mean by "our" is the responsability of the university, or more
    precisely the Humboldtian model of university. This model has
    reached a crisis point. Responses to this crisis vary (some
    universities, not only in Usa, have been flirting with companies, and
    we can see now the results). But I will not go into further details, as
    in the last ten years many good books have been published on this
    topic both in Europe and North America (Willard will certainly
    remember one: Anne Matthews, Bright College Years: Inside the American
    Campus Today).
    What I would like to say here, is that the "Humboldt vs. Ford" game goes
    back to the
    first half of the century (when the "old" world of education begins to feel
    consequences of the industrialization).
    Hope Humanists will forgive me for this long quote:
    John Dewey, _The Middle works, 1899-1924_,
    Volume 8: 1915, Southern Illinois University Press,
    London and Amsterdam, Feffer & Simons, Inc., pp. 411-413.
    Sir: I have written unclearly indeed when Dr. Snedden
    interprets me as giving, even in appearance, "aid and comfort to the
    opponents of a broader, richer and more effective program of
    education," or else Dr. Snedden has himself fallen a victim to the
    ambiguity of the word vocational. I would go farther than he is
    apparently willing to go in holding that education should be
    vocational, but in the name of a genuinely vocational education I
    object to the identification of vocation with such trades as can be
    learned before the age of, say, eighteen or twenty; and to the
    identification of education with acquisition of specialized skill in
    the management of machines at the expense of an industrial
    intelligence based on science and a knowledge of social problems and
    conditions. I object to regarding as vocational education any
    training which does not have as its supreme regard the development
    of such intelligent initiative, ingenuity and executive capacity as
    shall make workers, as far as may be, the masters of their own
    industrial fate. I have my doubts about theological predestination,
    but at all events that dogma assigned predestinating power to an
    omniscient being; and I am utterly opposed to giving the power of
    social predestination, by means of narrow trade-training, to any
    group of fallible men no matter how well-intentioned they may be.
    Dr. Snedden has been fortunate if he has not met those who are not
    so well-intentioned, and if he is so situated that he believes that
    "the interests" are a myth of muckrakers and that none of "the
    interests" have any designs upon the control of educational machinery.
    Dr. Snedden's criticisms of my articles seem to me couched in
    such general terms as not to touch their specific contentions. I
    argued that a separation of trade education
    and general education of youth has the inevitable tendency to make
    both kinds of training narrower, less significant and less effective
    than the schooling in which the material of traditional education is
    reorganized to utilize the incus trial subject-matter -- active, scientific
    and social -- of the present-day environment. Dr. Snedden would
    come nearer to meeting my points if he would indicate how such a
    separation is going to make education "broader, richer and more
    effective." If he will undertake this task there will be something
    specific to discuss. In order that the discussion may be really
    definite, I suggest that he tell the readers of the New Republic what
    he thinks of the Gary system, and whether he thinks this system
    would have been possible in any of its significant features except by
    a mutual interpretation of the factors of general education and of
    industry. And as his article may be interpreted as an apology for the
    Cooley bill in Illinois, I should like to ask him whether he is familiar
    with the educational reorganisationn going on in Chicago, and
    whether he thinks that it would be helped or hindered if the Chicago
    schools came under a dual administration, with one agency looking
    after a traditional bookish education and another after a specific
    training for mechanical trades. I should like to know, too, how such
    educational cleavage is to be avoided unless each type of school
    extends its work to duplicate that of the other type.
    Apart from light on such specific questions, I am regretfully
    forced to the conclusion that the difference between us is not so
    much narrowly educational as it is profoundly political and social.
    The kind of vocational education in which I am interested is not one
    which will "adapt" workers to the existing industrial regime; I am not
    sufficiently in love with the regime for that. It seems to me that the
    business of all who would not be educational time servers is to
    resist every move in this direction, and to strive for a kind of
    vocational education which will first alter the existing industrial
    system, and ultimately transform it.
    I can readily understand how a practical administrator becomes
    impatient with the slowness of social processes and becomes eager
    for a short-cut to desired results. He has a claim upon the sympathy
    of those who do not have to face the immediate problems. But as long
    as there are as many debatable questions as Dr. Snedden admits there
    are, and as long as conditions are as mobile as he indicates, it is
       surely well that those
    outside the immediate administrative field insist that particular
    moves having short-run issues in view be checked up by
    consideration of issues more fundamental although remoter.
    ( Signed ) JOHN DEWEY
    [First published in New Republic 3 (I9I5): 42-43. For letter to
    which this was a reply, see this volume, pp. 460-65.]
             Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 07:41:00 +0000
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Re: 14.0543 corporate universities
    Comrade Willard,
    Leo Klein's posting along with yours seem to make a set of assumptions
    that I find quite puzzling.
    1) Post-secondary institutions of higher education successfully teach
    critical thinking.
    2) Schools for the trade-oriented mechanical arts do not teach critical
    These assumption are implicitly marshalled by many defenders of either
    liberal arts or techno-know-how to propose the adoption of a rhetorical
    position that posists a coveted prize as the outcome of an educational
    process and which then moves to argue for access to resources for that
    particular process. It is often wise to disentangle "turf", "outcomes" and
    The social good can also be served by adopting the perspectives that the
    pedagogue is the receiver of the gift. Students keep teachers keen. In
    some ways, we can imagine educational institutions of whatever stripe as
    parking grounds for a surplus labour pool. The gift of student bodies to
    the institution may not be the most uplifting of social metaphors. And it
    does mark the teaching professions as belonging in the same ambit as the
    care giving professions. And most subscribers to Humanist will understand
    the expression "pink collar ghetto".
    The humanist is the artful practicioner of the _convivium_. Does the
    practice of this art cease _extra muros_?
    You allude to the corrent use of words and you imply that the proper names
    of the places of activities can change the world. Michael R. Saso in his
    introductory material to the _Taoist Cookbook_ reminds us that there are
    very different attitudes besides the Confucian to the efficacy of words.
    The Taoist would toss away the name like a husk once a full meditation on
    its meanings were complete. Naming is but one way of doing things with
    words. Threading and unraveling are others.
    Can anyone who has never swung a machete to cut cane in sweltering heat
    truly appreciate certain evocative passages in Carribean diaspora
    literature? I would argue that both the academic and the technical
    instructor model empathy that permit the leaps of imagination that ground
    critical thinking. Whether that model is resisted or accepted is the
    students prerogative. If class distinctions fall away from within the
    pedagogical sitution, is there hope for the world beyond?
    I'm off to experience the Canadian physical equivalent of cane-cutting:
    shoveling snow but in a far different social dynamic than
    colonlial metayage. And then some rum with friends.
    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    Member of the Evelyn Letters Project

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