The Order of Learning: Essays on the Contemporary University

The Order of Learning: Essays on the Contemporary University

by Edward Shils
     
 

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The Order of Learning considers the problems facing higher education by focusing on main underlying factors: the relationship of higher education to government, academic freedom, and the responsibilities of the academic profession, among others. Edward Shils argues that higher education has a central role in society, and that distractions, such as pressures

Overview

The Order of Learning considers the problems facing higher education by focusing on main underlying factors: the relationship of higher education to government, academic freedom, and the responsibilities of the academic profession, among others. Edward Shils argues that higher education has a central role in society, and that distractions, such as pressures from government, disinterest of students and faculty in education, and involvement of institutions of higher learning in social questions, have damaged higher education by deflecting it from its commitment to teaching, learning, and research.

Shils believes that the modern university must be steadfast in its commitment to the pursuit of truth, the education of students, and the provision of research. Universities should not be all things to all people. On one hand, the academic community must understand the essential mission of the university and resist distractions. On the other, government must provide the necessary support to higher education, even when the immediate "pay-off" is not self-evident.

This book provides a refreshing new perspective precisely by taking a traditional stance on the role of higher education in modern society. It includes carefully researched and elegantly written essays on many of the central issues facing education today. This work will be of great interest to educators and students alike, as well as those interested in the future of higher education in the United States.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This volume is a collection of essays by Edward Shils dealing with the general subject of the university . . . [Shils] is one of the seminal figures in sociology, which was his choosen discipline, but influential as well in philosophy, especially of science, political science, and education . . . This is a volume that will be a good addition to the library of anyone seriously interested in the state of the modern university . . . [T]he editor . . . [is] responsible for the excellent introduction, which provided me with important insights into Shils’ background and helped in the interpretation of the collected works. We who are in or interested in academe are in his debt for having brought this collection together in published form.”

—Charles E. Young, The Library Quarterly

“Shils walks us through the facts. He marks the change from amateur to professional scholar and from generalist to specialist; addresses the Ph.D. as cause and effect of our academic malaise; examines the evolution of tenure; the shifting competition for research funding, prestige, and students . . . Friends and enemies of American higher education have much to learn from this book.”

Virginia Quarterly Review

“[It is] essential that historians of education begin to focus seriously on the nature of their scholarship and to examine carefully its social and intellectual consequences. Central to any such study would be the work of Edward Shils (1910-1995), whose book The Order of Learning: Essays on the Contemporary University, published posthumously in 1997, endorses a popularly heard conservative position about the current shortcomings of the university as a social institution . . . In the words of Phillip G. Altbach, Shil’s onetime student who edits and provides an introduction to this collection of essays, “Shils helped to define the dominant sociological paradigm of the period.””

—Timothy Glander, Educational Studies

“Shils, a distinguished macrosociologist and authority on universities in both modern and developing nations . . . died in 1995 at the age of 85. Altbach, Shils's student in the mid 1960s, has collected fourteen of Shils's previously published articles and chapters on universities . . . For general readers, graduate students, researchers, faculty.”

—D. S. Webster, Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781412851541
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
04/10/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
396
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Edward Shils (1910-1995) was distinguished service professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. His books include Tradition, The Intellectuals and the Powers, and Toward a General Theory of Action.

Philip G. Altbach is J. Donald Monan, S. J. University Professor and director of the Center for International Higher Education in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. He is the author of many books, including World Class Worldwide: Transforming Research Universities in Asia and Latin America.

Philip G. Altbach is J. Donald Monan, S. J. University Professor and director of the Center for International Higher Education in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. He is the author of many books, including World Class Worldwide: Transforming Research Universities in Asia and Latin America.

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