The 2015 seminar on The University in American Life will address the question: What ought a great university look like 25 years from now? The United States has the greatest collection of research universities in the world. We have few challengers for this preeminence. Why should we look to change our universities? This seminar will systematically examine the university from bottom to top and explore what changes inside the university and in the larger society are needed to optimize the potential as transmitter and producers of knowledge. Issues about the structure of knowledge, about admissions, about the cost of higher learning, about the role of government in the university, about graduate schools, about the place of the humanities and social and behavioral science in the new university will be considered. The seminar will also examine the way universities and the legal system interact – from regulations to policies that government workplace harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault. All aspects of the university will be open for examination – from its administrative to its academic structure; from its relationships among its own units to its relationships with other institutions. We will consider whether the pipeline feeding these universities is broken and how one might begin to think about repairing it. Many other topics will be taken up as well.
The requirements for the seminar are simple: full participation and presence at seminar meetings and submission of one 15 page paper on a topic related to those that we will discuss. One oral presentation of your ideas will also be part of the seminar.