When James Conant visited Australia in 1951 he unwittingly entered an existing, lengthy debate about the value of university‐based knowledge in Australia. The Second World…
When James Conant visited Australia in 1951 he unwittingly entered an existing, lengthy debate about the value of university‐based knowledge in Australia. The Second World War, with its significant reliance on academic expertise, had suggested that if knowledge could win wars, the labour of academic staff could be considered to normally have social and economic value to the nation. In 1951 Conant had no way of foreseeing that steps made, in this light, at Federal level during and after the war, would culminate in the 1957 Review of Universities in Australia, chaired by Sir Keith Murray, and the injection of a large amount of funding into the university system. Conant’s confidential report to the Carnegie Corporation does show that he saw the system in desperate need of funding, which wasa reality that everyone agreed upon.1 The long debate included options for university funding and the potential change to the character of universities if the community, rather than the cloister, was to determine the purpose and character of knowledge. Conant’s report reflects this debate, centring (as many other participants did as well) on the value universities would gain if they were more obviously useful and relevant to industry and if their reputation was less stained by elitism and arrogance. Conant could not gather sufficient data in his visit to identify the nuances of this long discussion nor could he see the depth and spread of its influence over the decade or so preceding his visit. As a result, his particular agenda seems to obscure the perception of the threat that change provoked to some of the traditional values associated with academic work. To consider the debate and the character of academic work in the university scene that Conant fleetingly visited, we need to look back just a few years to another, but very different, visitor to the Australian system.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the origins of tensions between the benefits (such as technologies and skills) and the substance of knowledge (often described as…
The purpose of this paper is to explore the origins of tensions between the benefits (such as technologies and skills) and the substance of knowledge (often described as “pure inquiry”) in Australian universities. There are advantages to considering this debate in Australia, since its universities were tightly connected to scholarly networks in the British Empire. After the Second World War, those ties were loosened, enabling influences from American research and technological universities, augmented by a growing connection between universities, government economic strategy and the procedures of industry. This paper thus traces some of routes by which arguments travelled and the ways they were articulated in post‐war Australia.
Ideas do not travel on their own. In this paper, the author takes a biographical approach to the question of contrasting attitudes to university knowledge in the post‐war period, comparing the international scholarly and professional networks of two British scientists who travelled to Australia – contemporaries in age and education – both influencing Australian higher education policy in diametrically opposing ways.
This research demonstrates that the growing connection with economic goals in Australian universities after the Second World War was in part a result of the new international and cross‐sectoral networks in which some scholars now operated.
Australian historiography suggests that shifts in the emphases of post‐war universities were primarily the consequence of government policy. This paper demonstrates that the debates that shaped Australia's modern university system were also conducted among an international network of scholars.
Mr Thomas, who is a member of the FBI Education Committee, chairman of the FBI Technical Colleges Committee, member of the BISF Training Committee, and of the West Riding…
Mr Thomas, who is a member of the FBI Education Committee, chairman of the FBI Technical Colleges Committee, member of the BISF Training Committee, and of the West Riding and North Derbyshire Area Training Committee, BISF, discusses two important topics arising in Sir Eric's book: the government of colleges of technology, and the nature of liberal studies.
The purpose of this paper is to outline the structures of collegial governance in Australian universities between 1945 and the “Dawkins reforms” of the late 1980s. It…
The purpose of this paper is to outline the structures of collegial governance in Australian universities between 1945 and the “Dawkins reforms” of the late 1980s. It describes the historical contours of collegial governance in practice, the changes it underwent, and the structural limits within which it was able to operate.
The analysis is based upon the writings of academics and university administrators from the period, with more fine-grained exemplification provided by archival and other evidence from Faculties of Arts and their equivalents in newer universities.
Elements of hierarchy and lateral organisation coexisted in the pre-Dawkins university in ways not generally made explicit in the existing literature. This mixture was sustained by ideals about academic freedom.
By historicising “collegiality” the research problematises polemical uses of the term, either for or against. It also seeks to clarify the distinctiveness of contemporary structures—especially for those with no first-hand experience of the pre-Dawkins university—by demonstrating historical difference without resort to nostalgia.
“Collegiality” is a common concept in education and organisation studies, as well as in critiques of the contemporary corporate university. However, the concept has received little sustained historical investigation. A clearer history of collegial governance is valuable both in its own right and as a conceptually clarifying resource for contemporary analyses of collegiality and managerialism.
The points I want to make about Conant in the rest of this commentary will not be devoted to the Carnegie philanthropy and its objectives, nor to the acuity of Conant’s…
The points I want to make about Conant in the rest of this commentary will not be devoted to the Carnegie philanthropy and its objectives, nor to the acuity of Conant’s observations on Australia or New Zealand. Those matters are best left to scholars from Australia or New Zealand like Craig Campbell. I do, however, want to offer some explanation for why Conant was so concerned with the secondary school in his Australian and New Zealand adventures, and to put that interest in the context of his own slight but meaningful encounter with public secondary education in the US, both prior to and after visiting Australia and New Zealand. Again, hubris seems to have played a role. Conant discoursed on secondary education as if he had an extended background on the topic. The truth was, however, that he had little experience in a high school, and no experience in a public high school.
The discussion about the relative merits of a specialist or non‐specialist education, whether at school or at university, is no new one, though to read some of the contributions to the debate one gets the feeling that many believe this to be a problem peculiar to the 'fifties and 'sixties of the twentieth century. The form of specialisation may have changed, but the nineteenth century was littered with debates about the evils or otherwise of an education given over entirely to a study of classical languages and literature. Even with the introduction of science subjects into the curriculum, specialisation as between the Humanities and the Sciences remained a characteristic feature of grammar school sixth forms, which, depending on whether one follows ‘The Abominable Snowman’ or ‘The Doctor’, may or may not have contributed to a Two‐Culture society.
Public external examinations were woven into the fabric of the education system of New South Wales (NSW) during the first three decades of the 20th century. By the late…
Public external examinations were woven into the fabric of the education system of New South Wales (NSW) during the first three decades of the 20th century. By the late 1920s examination results had become the fetish and goal of most teachers and pupils in the state. In the early 1930s a reaction to this state of affairs developed; examination reform became a lively issue of debate. Central to the debate was the issue of the examination which marked the close of general adolescent education: the Intermediate Certificate (IC) examination. The agitation for IC modification began in the 1930s and did not cease until the 1960s. It began in the dissatisfaction of the 1930s, developed through the 1940s when opinion crystallized, survived the stagnation in educational reform of the late 1940s and early 1950s, quickly revived during the professional and public discussion surrounding the hearing and deliberations of the Committee Appointed to Survey Secondary Education in New South Wales (Wyndham Committee) and finally ceased with its abolition in the mid 1960s.
Lasting differences between the ‘extract’ and the ‘inject’ schools of thought on liberal content suggest that some more general principle is needed. The author finds in wartime Army education a principle which gives coherence, balance, and some guidance on allocating time.
The modern economy of North America has been built on nearly five centuries of natural resource exploitation. Wetlands have been part of that pattern, with drainage and…
The modern economy of North America has been built on nearly five centuries of natural resource exploitation. Wetlands have been part of that pattern, with drainage and filling used to convert them to higher economic values. Ecological research and social value changes have been accumulating in the last half of the twentieth century, however, and suggest that such behaviour is becoming less acceptable. Whereas the social incentives for entrepreneurs used to be unmitigated in their encouragement of the elimination of wetlands, evolving values suggest a radical restructuring is under way. The dividing line between heroic entrepreneurial exploitation and vilification for ecosystem damage is best understood as a shifting zone of uncertain values. Prudent entrepreneurs will monitor those value shifts closely.
THE TRADES UNION CONGRESS is pressing the government to set up a central body to investigate and advise on the whole question of environment in Britain today. If implemented, the scheme would have a major effect on industry and is likely to be viewed by cost‐conscious management warily. Talks have taken place at Cabinet Office level, but at present the unions are concerned that the idea has become “bogged down” and is in danger of being lost because of the presence of a permanent Royal Commission and a government‐sponsored committee.