Knowledge, Virtue and the Research University

Recently, a broad literature has chronicled, diagnosed, and attempted to solve what many have referred to as a “crisis” in higher education. Some authors tie the purported crisis to an out- of-touch faculty or lackadaisical students, while others blame a conservative or liberal political culture or the public’s general distrust of univer- sities. Amidst all of these anxious arguments, however, we can discern four basic types.

the first type is technocratic. these books tend to be sociological, data-driven critiques of the university as an institution. Exemplified by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s recent Academically Adrift, they cast a pall on the university by focusing on particular problems: low graduation rates, skewed admissions poli- cies, indifferent faculty, disengaged students, or uncontrollable costs. In response, the authors of these studies offer specific, procedural suggestions for solving the university’s various problems. [For the full article, Wellmon]


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