Claims of Difference: University Culture and the Stifling of Debate


  • Ejner J. Jensen


Higher Education, Debate, Society


Faculty members in our universities are reluctant to engage in debate on the impact on their institutions of some of the momentous issues in our society, often claiming that the academy is a world apart. In their reading, concerns about "customers, competition, and change, " often cited as central challenges to our society, simply don t register the same way in the university context. This attitude is both arrogant and selfdefeating. The university community needs to forego the claims of difference that prevent it from engaging in a productive way with the challenges that confront it. To do otherwise is to risk the imposition on the university of practices and values that may be altogther foreign to its goals and its central claims to worth.