Week 2: The Purpose(s) of the University

After reading the article and watch the videos, particularly the video from TIME, it seems the purpose of the University is two-fold, especially if the university claims the prestigious position as a research institution. The purposes of the University are to share and perpetuate knowledge, and it might do this by means of teaching and researching. Research Universities receive funding from the government, so in many ways are funded by the people; therefore, they owe the public a debt and pay it by publishing their research and teaching knowledge within their classrooms.

The TIME video was interesting because it touched upon certain issues in higher education. One of these issues is change. What needs to change in higher education? How can we change so that higher education can benefit more people in more ways? I thought that some of these answers from these higher-ups in higher ed were great and would love to see them elaborated upon and eventually implemented. For example, I thought one gentleman’s point about schools looking at a student’s score or capability in every single subject being a little excessive was relevant to how many students feel today. I think he used Alan Ginsberg as an example, saying that today, he probably wouldn’t be let into Columbia University because his science scores weren’t good enough (TIME). I think this happens to many students who are talented in one area of academics, but not so talented in another. The SAT can hinder a student whose math score wasn’t high enough for him or her to get into a philosophy program. I think something that is important to remember is that the University should be about the student, educating and edifying the student, more than it should focus on anything else.

As a student of the humanities, I would also like to see the humanities make its way back into the respect of the academic community. At a research university, the academics within the humanities often feel that they have to justify their right to existence. I had to throw that in there.

Work Cited:

“Reinventing Our Universities in the 21st Century.” TIME, 20 September 2013, link 


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5 Responses to Week 2: The Purpose(s) of the University

  1. maryamyuhas

    Great post! I agree with you that the ideas were great, but I would like to see some of those being implemented now!

  2. timfitzpatrick15

    I agree with the views on these topics these week. I remember being in high school and applying for colleges. I loved Math but always struggled with English as a subject. Because of this, I scored very well on the SAT in the Math sections but ended up taking the tests multiple times in order to increase my score in the Reading and Writing categories. Each person really does have their own strengths and values different things. If the education could somehow capture this, maybe create a personalized education for each student, maybe some people who are struggling can improve and be successful.

    Nice job!

    -Tim FitzPatrick

  3. rjlarosa

    I agree with what you said regarding the university’s debt to the public. Since most of the funding comes from the government, we the people, are actually the ones funding universities. What a great point! I also wanted to say way to go in going above and beyond with the citation.

  4. livs

    Wonderfully said! I also really enjoyed hearing the example in the TIME video about Alan Ginsberg. Not everyone can be good at the arts as well as the sciences. I believe tests like the SATs and GREs are not a fair test for every student and can hinder the wonderful progression of learning since so many people are stopped in their tracks due to math or science.

  5. patco92

    Great post, I agree with the stance regarding SAT/GRE/ACT/etc. tests not being a great assessment tool for students. They cover the foundations of learning, but very few individuals are overly competent in every category these tests cover. I believe it’s important to find a solution to this problem of brilliant minds being over looked due to a lack in a certain category of education.

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