Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stefano Collini - What are Universities For?

p xi Did not say about humanities being more important as I first read. Actually says "not, needless to say, because I believe they are more central to a university than the natural and social sciences, but partly because their character and value are usually less well understood than that of the scientific disciplines, and partly because they are the disciplines with which I am most familiar."

Chapter One - his idea is that the university is an important name for an institution because of the respect and prestige that the title brings. Very powerful arguments about the weaknesses of league tables and the ability to game them. Especially cynical about what league tables measure and if the student experience is a valid measure of anything at university.

Chapter Two - Anderson Committee 1960 created student grants - just as the boomers were about to enter. Before that entry was based on unequal privilege.

Chapter Four - Humanities are discussed but he is wrong to say that science and academic work should be inaccessible. His view that academic work is an apprenticeship in the humanities is a good one. We are all at some time apprentices even in the lab.