Higher Education and Opinion Making in Twentieth-Century England

By Harold Silver | Go to book overview

8

ASHBY: 'THE AGE OF TECHNOLOGY'

VOICE AND AUDIENCES

The development of higher technological education and its impact on higher education can be seen most clearly in the transition of Eric Ashby from research botanist to intensive and thoughtful advocate not only of technology but also of the implications for the internal life of the universities and the higher education system. The focus here is on England, and although Eric Ashby's most formative period was in Northern Ireland, his Technology and the Academics published in 1958, was mainly about England. Born and educated in England, including as a botanist at Imperial College, London, he moved to the University of Sydney, became Australian scientific attaché in the Soviet Union for a period during the Second World War, then back to an academic post at the University of Manchester, and with great reluctance accepted the position of President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University of Belfast in 1950. The themes of his conference and other addresses in the United Kingdom and worldwide were set in the frameworks of development and ideas that he would have had to address similarly had he become vice-chancellor of an English university. In 1959 he moved to become Master of Clare College, Cambridge, of which university he was also Vice-Chancellor from 1967-75. He had an immense international involvement with universities and by the time he left Belfast he was becoming one of the most important British university voices. The interest here, however, is the emergence of his approach to higher technological education and its implications for democracy, university structures and student experience in higher education.

When he published Technology and the Academics he had been at Queen's eight years, and was contributing widely in lectures, addresses, reviews and publications on issues that we have seen emerging in the 1950s. In no sense was he engaged in public debates conducted by other contributors whose voices we have heard, though they formed an important backcloth to the

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Higher Education and Opinion Making in Twentieth-Century England
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Foreword xi
  • Part I - System Making 1
  • 1 - Preludes 3
  • 2 - Early Decades: 'Unequal and Inadequate' 13
  • 3 - 1940s: 'A New Crispness' 33
  • Part II - Values 55
  • 4 - 'truscot': 'the Universities' Speaking Conscience' 57
  • 5 - Postwar: 'A Ferment of Thought' 79
  • 6 - Moberly: 'the Status Quo and Its Defects' 100
  • 7 - 1950s: 'Modern Needs' 127
  • 8 - Ashby: 'the Age of Technology' 151
  • Part III - A National Purpose 175
  • 9 - 1960s: 'Expansionism' 177
  • 10 - Final Decades: 'Painful Transformation' 211
  • 11 - Pressures and Silences 252
  • Index 267
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