A Larger Sense of Purpose: Higher Education and Society

By Harold T. Shapiro | Go to book overview

The University and Society

We can and must help create a better world, but every
opportunity pursued involves a wager on the future.

IN CHOOSING as the title of this volume A Larger Sense of Purpose: Higher Education and Society, I meant to convey the notion that universities, like other social institutions and even individuals, ought to serve interests that include but move beyond narrow self-serving concerns. The epigraph of this volume, the Latin phrase non nobis solum, “not for ourselves alone,” echoes this thought. To my regret, this is one of those ideas that, while applauded in principle, is easily lost in the challenge of meeting one's day-to-day responsibilities. This makes it even more important to pause once in a while to adjust our sails and correct our course.


PUBLIC AND PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES

All higher education institutions, both public and private, both nonprofit and for-profit, and from state colleges to research universities to community colleges to a wide variety of technical and professional schools, serve a public purpose. Considerable variation in quality, purpose, and aspirations exists in each of these sectors. Nevertheless, they each play a distinctive and important role. The resulting heterogeneity of America's institutions of higher education not only matches the wide spectrum of achievement and aspiration of entering students, but is one of the principal sources of strength and vitality of American higher education. The opportunity for Americans to more fully realize their educational aspirations through a variety of paths and at a number of different points in their life cycle is an important and distinctive aspect of American higher education. The idea

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A Larger Sense of Purpose: Higher Education and Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Non Nobis Solum v
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue ix
  • The University and Society 1
  • The Transformation of the Antebellum College - From Right Thinking to Liberal Learning 40
  • Liberal Education, Liberal Democracy, and the Soul of the University 88
  • Some Ethical Dimensions of Scientific Progress 120
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 175
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