A Confusion of Identity

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In his op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, U-Mass Boston professor Vincent Cannato highlights a recent work critical of the contemporary university’s identity crisis. Harry Lewis, a professor of computer science at Harvard, has written a book entitled, Excellence Without a Soul. It is, in some ways, the continuation of that project started by the venerable Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind.

The thesis of the book, in Cannato’s words, is: “…a defense of the idea that universities should be about something What makes an educated person? Unfortunately, too many professors and administrators, if they ever bother to think about it, would have difficulty answering the question beyond the pabulum found in most university brochures.” The truth of the matter is, now in Lewis’s words, “…all knowledge is equally valued as long as a Harvard professor is teaching it.”

(Click on the title above to be taken to the article).

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