14.0552 corporate universities

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 12/09/00

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 552.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
       [1]   From:    "Robert J. O'Hara" <rjohara@uncg.edu>               (29)
             Subject: Factories, mints, and treadmills (was: corporate
       [2]   From:    Leo Robert Klein <lk13@is2.nyu.edu>                 (23)
             Subject: Re: 14.0546 corporate universities
       [3]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>         (37)
             Subject: assumptions, knowledge, skills
       [4]   From:    Randall Pierce <rpierce@jsucc.jsu.edu>              (23)
             Subject: corporate universities
             Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2000 06:21:25 +0000
             From: "Robert J. O'Hara" <rjohara@uncg.edu>
             Subject: Factories, mints, and treadmills (was: corporate 
    Colleagues:  I have been following with interest the discussion of
    corporate universities, and can directly relate to many of the
    observations made.  Along these lines, I wonder if anyone can point me
    to the original sources of two quotations about colleges.  The first is
    a famous remark that I know comes from Cardinal Newman, but I don't know
    where (is it somewhere in _The Idea of a University_?)  The quotation is
    something to the effect that a university is "an Alma Mater, knowing her
    children one by one, and not a factory, or a mint, or a treadmill."  (If
    Cardinal Newman were around today, he would no doubt add that it is not
    a McDonalds or a Pizza Hut, either.)
    The second quotation is vaguer.  It is something like, "a college is
    built of men, not things."  I have found an attribution to the historian
    Frederick Artz
    (http://www.oberlin.edu/~archive/WWW_files/fletcher_b.html), but that
    reference sounds like it might be secondary.  If any of the well-read
    Humanists here can identify the originals of either of these quotation I
    would be very grateful.
    I am trying to track these down so that I can use them accurately on a
    website I am developing that will warm any hearts made cold by Corporate
    U.  It is called "The Collegiate Way: Residential Colleges and Higher
    Education Reform."  I invite you to pay it a visit at
    and come with me back to the future.
    Bob O'Hara
    Dr. Robert J. O'Hara (rjohara@post.harvard.edu - http://rjohara.net)
    Biology Department, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC 27402 USA
    Residential Colleges and Higher Education Reform: http://collegiateway.org
             Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2000 06:22:20 +0000
             From: Leo Robert Klein <lk13@is2.nyu.edu>
             Subject: Re: 14.0546 corporate universities
    On Thu, 07 Dec 2000, Norman D. Hinton wrote:
      > I wish we could nail down the rights to the word, as if it were a wine
      > variety....
    The Middle States Association does this for us.
    On Thu, 07 Dec 2000, Michael S. Hart wrote:
      > 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.
    I wouldn't insist on Shakespeare (though that would be one of my personal
    This reminded me of something funny: because I do Web development, my
    colleagues foolishly assume I'm an authority on computer-related affairs.
    In fact, I've got a BA in English from the Univ. of Ill. at Chicago and an
    MFA from NYU (albeit in Interactive Telecommunicatons).  For them however,
    "I'll do".  So they came to me with a dispute as to whether a programmer
    needs to know mathematics or not.  I told them:  forget the mathematics --
    if the person doesn't know poetry, he's not worth hiring.  They tend to
    avoid me now but at least I got to keep my job.
    Leo Robert Klein                                   Library Web Coordinator
    home ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: http://patachon.com
    office ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: http://newman.baruch.cuny.edu
             Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2000 06:22:57 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: assumptions, knowledge, skills
    In Humanist 14.0506 Francois Lachance finds in my posting on the notion of
    a "corporate university" the following assumptions:
     >1) Post-secondary institutions of higher education successfully teach
     >critical thinking.
     >2) Schools for the trade-oriented mechanical arts do not teach critical
    It seems that I failed miserably in my attempt to get past the commonplace
    attitude, which finds snobbery in the former and unworthiness in the
    latter. What I was trying to say was that these two kinds of institutions
    are different, both needed, both noble creations of the human spirit, but
    still different. Confusing them does no one any good.
    An example. An art school nearby a major university with a very strong
    programme in art history decides that it has to do art history too in order
    to be able to offer BA degrees. (If you don't have a BA degree you're
    NOBODY, right?) What happens? Money is taken away from studio courses in
    order to fund what can only be a half-hearted BA programme. Artists aren't
    properly trained in the skills they need nor in art history.
    In the above scheme the corporate university (if I understand what this
    means) is neither one nor the other. The necessary craftsmanship (critical
    thinking with and through the instruments of the crafts) doesn't make for
    quick turnover and high profits. So (if I am right) quality suffers on both
    This is relevant to us because craft is such an important part of applied
    computing. It seems to me that we must teach the skills of using the
    equipment that is central to what we do. Now the above scheme doesn't fit
    the hard sciences very well, especially the experimental sciences, which
    require that students learn manual skills. (Do these sciences still require
    experimenters to make their own equipment?) Again I wonder if the model of
    the experimental sciences isn't a good one for us to use in fashioning our
    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/
             Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2000 06:23:33 +0000
             From: Randall Pierce <rpierce@jsucc.jsu.edu>
             Subject: corporate universities
    I have for years found the "sponsership" of university research by
    corporations to be a true "two-edged sword". While the financial
    participation into the scholarly life of academe certainly expands its
    ability to seek new directions in knowledge, it also has the real
    potential  to stifle, or to direct the directions and emphases of
    research. Corportions are not usually predominately civically oriented
    organizations. I am certain that corporation grants have played a great
    part in the decision not to publish certain research findings.
    Censorship, in other words. Corporations have been known to use research
    and develoment departments of universities as if they were in-house
    facilities. Professors and research workers become nothing more that
    contract workers for the companies. They don't even get benefits. I am
    greatly concerned with this increasing alliance of university and
    business. Free inquiry is essential to human progress and well-being.
    Corporate secrecy does not bode well for the free dissemination of
    information. I might propose that corporate contributions be made to a
    separate foundation which will administer research funds, thus
    eliminating the direct corporate-university contact. Another
    alternative, of ccourse, is taxing business for research and
    development, and granting amounts of the proceeds to universities for
    research, no strings attached. I do not think that the corporate search
    for profits should interfere with the free exchange of knowledge, which
    the burgeoning field of hyper-text  technology has done so much to
    develop and encourage. Thank you for your considerations. Randall

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