11.0109 tenure & the fate of universities

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 20:24:18 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 109.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Hope Greenberg <hope.greenberg@uvm.edu> (16)
Subject: Tenure, Technology and Scolarly Futures

[2] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> (39)
Subject: the fate of universities

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 10:20:15 -0400
From: Hope Greenberg <hope.greenberg@uvm.edu>
Subject: Tenure, Technology and Scolarly Futures

The University of Vermont will be welcoming its new President, Dr.
Judith Ramaley, on July 1. A new president provides a perfect
opportunity to reexamine university practices. One of the concerns of
academics who are involved in technology, particularly those of us who
are in the humanities, is how creation and use of technological
resources is reflected in university policy related to promotion and

I would like to ask those of you who may have recently addressed this
issue how it was handled, what the results were, what (online)
documentation, if any, is available, and what advice you might offer.
Comments from those who wish their university would address this issue
are also welcome!

Thank you.

- Hope

[Please send all replies for which the author can afford to be known by
name directly to Humanist. Those who wish to remain anonymous but want
their views circulated may send messages to me so that I may quote them
anonymously. --WM]

Hope Greenberg Humanities Computing Specialist University of Vermont

Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 16:07:27 +0100 (BST)
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: the fate of universities

As we contemplate the course of humanities computing and how our
universities respond to changes in the sociology of knowledge, it is helpful
to keep an eye on the history of our academic institutions. Helpful in this
regard is Hilde de Ridder-Symoens, ed., <cite>A History of the University in
Europe</cite> (Cambridge), volume 2 of which, Universities in Early Modern
Europe (1500-1800), has just been reviewed in the TLS for 13 June 1997 (no.

In his article, "Academic distinctions: How competition blighted Europe's
universities", Alastair Hamilton notes in particular the decline of European
universities by the mid-eighteenth century: "their numbers were depleted,
their standards dropped, and most of them were strongly in need of the
reforms which would reinvigorate them in the nineteenth century." Hamilton
cites several reasons for the decline: (1) availability of qualified
teachers; (2) the failure of the universities to move with the times --
"unable to adapt to the inevitable glut they themselves had created"; but
primarily (3) their loss of the monopoly on scholarship and education. The
explosion of academic establishments after the Reformation, many of these
theological seminaries, provided stiff competition, but even more schools
sponsored by rulers for the benefit of a particular class or profession,
e.g. the Inns of Court in London, which resulted in "the loss of the
traditional legal faculties at Oxford and Cambridge". "As science advanced
in the eighteenth century and the universities were ever less able to meet
increasingly sophisticated demands, more and more scholars sought refuge in
the academies.... Many universities did what they could to keep up.... But
by and large they were overtaken, albeit only provisionally, by the numerous
competing institutions."

An object lesson for us here? See again the article in Thursday's Online
section of the Guardian by Keith Devlin, "University Challenge",
In the light of history, the threat would seem real.



Dr. Willard McCarty
Senior Lecturer, Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS
+44 (0)171 873 2784 voice; 873 5081 fax