Academic Freedom and Faculty Status
From the top of a hill one may see everything for miles around, except the top of the hill. From the vantage point of the liberal arts college, scholars survey all time and space except the liberal arts college. That has been left to professional schools of education, and, quite properly, they have been interested in education itself rather than in the institution which houses and purveys it.
In consequence, we know a great deal about curriculum and its relations to state, church, and society, but too little about the university as a social, political, historical, and economic institution. We know a great deal about the avowed aims of universities, but less about why and how they develop. And that development has been considerable. When King’s College, now Columbia University, first opened its doors, it advertised in the New York Gazette that it intended to teach students “. . . to know God in Jesus Christ . . . and to train them up in all virtuous Habits, and all such useful Knowledge, as may render them creditable to their Families, and Friends, Ornaments to their Country, and useful to the public Weal in their Generations.” Today Professor Robert M. MacIver of Columbia writes in his book, Academic Freedom in Our Time (Columbia University Press, 1955), that “. . . the special function of the university is to extend and to impart knowledge.”
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