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A Larger Sense of Purpose

A Larger Sense of Purpose: Higher Education and Society

Harold T. Shapiro
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 202
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  • Book Info
    A Larger Sense of Purpose
    Book Description:

    Universities were once largely insular institutions whose purview extended no further than the campus gates. Not anymore. Today's universities have evolved into multifaceted organizations with complex connections to government, business, and the community. This thought-provoking book by Harold Shapiro, former president of both Princeton University and the University of Michigan, and Chairman of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission under President Bill Clinton, explores the role the modern university should play as an ethical force and societal steward.

    Based on the 2003 Clark Kerr lectures,A Larger Sense of Purposedraws from Shapiro's twenty-five years of experience leading major research universities and takes up key topics of debate in higher education. What are the nature and objectives of a liberal education? How should universities address the increasing commercialization not only of intercollegiate sports but of education and research? What are the university's responsibilities for the moral education of students?

    The book begins with an expanded history of the modern research institution followed by essays on ethics, the academic curriculum, the differences between private and public higher education, the future of intellectual property rights, and the changing relationship between the nation's universities and the for-profit sector. Shapiro calls for universities to be more accountable morally as well as academically. He urges scientists not only to educate others about the potential and limitations of science but also to acknowledge the public's distress over the challenges presented by the very success of the scientific enterprise. He advocates for a more intimate connection between professional training and the liberal arts--in the hope that future doctors, lawyers, and business executives will be educated in ethics and the social sciences as well as they are in anatomy, torts, and leveraged buyouts.

    Candid, timely, and provocative,A Larger Sense of Purposedemands the attention of not only those in academics but of anyone who shares an interest in the soul of education.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2674-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Prologue
    (pp. ix-xviii)

    It is a special honor to have been chosen to give the first in what will be a series of biannual lectures established to honor Clark Kerr, the very memorable president of the University of California. In the fifteen years he served first as chancellor of the Berkeley campus (1952–1958) and then as president of the University of California (1958–1967), he stood at the center of an institution characterized, somewhat paradoxically, by both great conflict and increasing academic distinction. An unkind and uninformed observer might characterize his tenure as chancellor and then president as bracketed by the aftermath...

  4. The University and Society
    (pp. 1-39)

    In choosing as the title of this volumeA 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 phrasenon 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...

  5. The Transformation of the Antebellum College FROM RIGHT THINKING TO LIBERAL LEARNING
    (pp. 40-87)

    In the decades since the Civil War, we have witnessed a radical transformation in the nature and size of American public and private institutions of higher education. Indeed, the nature and role of the antebellum college is, for most of us, a rather vague, unstable, and distant memory. The rather startling nature of the institutional transformation of the antebellum college is the primary subject of this essay. This bit of American higher education history has always held a certain fascination for me for two reasons. First, because the antebellum college seemed to provide such an unpromising foundation for meeting the...

  6. Liberal Education, Liberal Democracy, and the Soul of the University
    (pp. 88-119)

    I hope in this essay to remove some of the accumulated debris that has distorted our common memory and thus has hampered our clear perception of the evolving nature and role of a liberal education and its relationship to professional education, moral education, and liberal democracy, and our understanding of who has the ongoing responsibility to protect the soul of the university. Despite the importance of these issues, they take up relatively little space in our national discourse on the current and future state of higher education in America. Currently, they exist as a kind of backdrop to topical controversial...

  7. Some Ethical Dimensions of Scientific Progress
    (pp. 120-162)

    Science has become a defining activity within our society. For some, scientific progress has even come to be an integral part of a new faith. This new faith is based on the belief that human progress in all spheres will be promoted, in some unspecified and mysterious way, by advances on the scientific frontier. For these “believers,” what was once a faith in the divine unfolding of history and/or salvation has been replaced by a faith in the capacity of scientific progress to find a better balance among ultimate objectives such as justice, equality, excellence, autonomy, social cohesion, and peace....

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 163-174)
  9. Index
    (pp. 175-183)